Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General Legal Advice
- How do I obtain advice?
- Do we charge?
- Should agreements be checked by the Legal Office?
- What do I do in a dispute?
- What is legal professional privilege?

Research Legal Advice
- How do I get a research agreement drafted?
- How will my research agreement be negotiated?
- What are the University's main legal concerns in a research project?
- How do I get a research agreement approved or signed?
- What happens to my research agreement once it has been signed?
- What insurance policies will cover my research?

Subpoenas and Warrants
- Who should subpoenas be addressed to?
- How are court documents served on the University?

Corporate Governance
- What is our ABN?
- Does UNSW have an ACN?
- Who can sign agreements for the University?
- What is the University seal?


How do I obtain advice?

Contact us by telephone or email (legaloffice@unsw.edu.au) or arrange a meeting. For any urgent issues or preliminary inquiries ring us on 9385 7249.

Do we charge?

We don’t charge for legal services provided in-house. If external legal expenses are incurred we may charge them back to the academic or administrative unit concerned, however we will advise you of this in advance.

Should agreements be checked by the Legal Office?

If you receive an agreement for signature on behalf of the University (other than a research-related Agreement), we ask that you forward a copy to the Legal Office with an accompanying memorandum explaining what has or will be agreed to and your analysis of any advice you require or unresolved issues. A conference may be needed between the Legal Office and an appropriate member of staff to clarify aspects of an agreement.

In the case of a research-related Agreement, you should send it to the Grants Management Office (GMO) or the Research Partnerships Unit (RPU). If the Agreement is out of the ordinary or needs to be negotiated, GMO or RPU will contact the Legal Office if assistance is sought reviewing or negotiating the Agreement.

What do I do in a dispute?

To give advice on a legal or contractual dispute some of the questions we may ask are:

  • Is there a written agreement for the arrangement now in dispute?
  • What are the issues in dispute? Eg. what clauses in the agreement?
  • When did the dispute begin?
  • Have there been discussions to resolve the dispute? Is there any record of those discussions?
  • Who has been notified of the dispute within the University?
  • Is there a history of past disputes with this person or organisation?
  • Should the University's insurers be notified? Have they been?
  • What is the University's position? Is any other section of the University affected by the dispute or likely to be affected by any outcome.

Please remember the earlier you consult the Legal Office the more help we can be, so please contact us if in doubt.

What is legal professional privilege?

In most cases, advice given by the Legal Office is protected by legal professional privilege. A claim for legal professional privilege may protect documents, emails or advice provided verbally, from disclosure. Legal professional privilege can be inadvertently waived (lost) if proper care is not taken of legal advice forming the subject of the privilege.

For further information, read our LPP Fact Sheet or contact the Legal Office.

How do I get a research agreement drafted?

To have an agreement drafted please contact the Grants Management Office (GMO) or the Research Partnerships Unit (RPU) in the first instance.

How will my research agreement be negotiated?

Your research agreement (or request for an agreement) will be referred by GMO or RPU to the Legal Office and will then be allocated to a Legal Counsel who will review the request and provide legal advice. The Legal Counsel may contact you for additional information to help with the review and will provide feedback once the review is complete.

What are the University's main legal concerns in a research project?

The role of the Legal Office is to advise on the terms and conditions for undertaking particular research projects which are consistent with the University's policies and procedures while protecting the University's research interests. The negotiation of a research agreement will involve discussions about a range of issues. Commonly discussions about the ownership of intellectual property generated from the project will take place. This may not necessarily be limited to intellectual property which has commercial value. All intellectual output has some value which the University may seek to protect under the terms of its agreements. The University must also maintain an independent right of academic publication for the results of its research work and ensure the rights of its research students are maintained during their involvement an externally funded research project.

How do I get a research agreement approved or signed?

To get an agreement approved and signed you need to submit the original agreement (all copies) to the relevant team in the Grants Management Office. You will also need to provide a copy of your original application or research proposal (as submitted to the sponsor) or any other related material. Before sending the agreement, please check that the documentation is complete (i.e. all attachments are included) and that project details are correct and appropriate (i.e. the project personnel, budget, milestones) and provide details of any corrections needed or issues that need to be addressed. The agreement will be reviewed by the GMO and referred for legal advice if necessary. If it is acceptable, the agreement will be referred to the appropriate authority for signature (usually the Director of the Grants Management Office or the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)). If the agreement needs to be negotiated prior to signature you will be advised.

What happens to my research agreement once it has been signed?

Once an agreement has been signed (by all parties) a signed copy is sent to each party. The UNSW copy will be centrally filed and a copy will be provided for your records. If the agreement relates to a funded project, a copy of the agreement and the related paperwork will be retained by the Grants Management Office so that a new research account can be activated. Your copy of the agreement will usually be sent to you with the account details.

What insurance policies will cover my research?

The University maintains a number of insurance policies to cover research related activities. If your research sponsor requests evidence of insurance, please contact the Legal Office or the Insurance Team to obtain a copy of the relevant insurance certificates.

Who should subpoenas be addressed to?

If delivered by hand the subpoena should be addressed to:

The Proper Officer
Legal Office
The University of New South Wales
Room 213, Level 2, Chancellery Building
High Street (through gate 9)
KENSINGTON NSW

If delivered by post the subpoena should be addressed to:

The Proper Officer
Legal Office
Room 213, Chancellery Building
The University of New South Wales
UNSW SYDNEY NSW 2052

UNSW Faculties or Units that receive a subpoena should direct the subpoena to the University Solicitor and General Counsel in the Legal Office who will manage the request.

How are court documents served on the University?

The General Counsel will confirm that we have instructions to accept service of court documents properly served on the University of New South Wales. If court documents are served on Faculties/units of the University they should be delivered to the Legal Office as soon as possible.

What is UNSW's ABN?

The ABN for UNSW is 57 195 873 179.

Does UNSW have an ACN?

No, UNSW does not have an ACN or Australian Company Number. This means UNSW is neither a corporation, nor a government department of agency. UNSW is a body corporate constituted by the University of New South Wales Act 1989 (NSW).

Who can sign agreements for the University?

Authority to sign agreements is set out in the Register of Delegations. To view the Register click here.

What is the University seal?

Certain documents which the University signs, such as deeds and leases, require the affixing of the University Seal. There is a formal process approved by Council for authorising the affixing of the seal. Documents requiring sealing need to be in final form, as once sealed, no additional pages or removal of pages can occur without re-sealing the documents. Any document requiring the University Seal must be delivered to the Legal Office. To have a document signed under the University Seal you are also required to accompany your request with the Admin File for that matter.

If negotiations have been completed between the academic or administrative unit concerned and the other party/ies, the staff member involved in the negotiations of the contract should contact the Legal Office, prior to final sign off (the earlier the better). The Legal Office will then ask the academic or administrative unit staff member responsible for the progress of that document to sign the memorandum submission accompanying the document for sealing. The Legal Office will attend to having the Seal applied to the documents and will return the original sealed documents to you.

The Legal Office will retain a fully executed and signed copy of the document in a Legal Office file.