MHLC – Mental Health Legal Centre
Mental Health
Legal Centre

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

The Mental Health Legal Centre (referred to as "MHLC", "we", "us" or "our") is a specialist community legal centre that provides professional services and assistance to people experiencing, or who have been labelled as experiencing, mental health challenges.

This privacy policy (Privacy Policy) explains how we will collect, use, disclose and handle your personal information. In the course of our business, we may need to gather and use information about you, such as your contact information and legal concerns.

By using our services or our website you consent to the collection, use, disclosure and transfer of your personal information as set out in this Privacy Policy.

Our Obligations

We are required to comply with the Victorian Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) when we collect and handle health information. Although we are not bound by the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), we comply with them when we collect and handle personal information.

If you are our client, we also comply with our legal and ethical obligations to keep your client information confidential. We only disclose client information if you allow us to, except in limited circumstances defined by law.

What types of information do we collect?

We only collect personal information that is reasonably necessary for one or more of our functions or activities.

The information that what we collect about you will depend on the services you use.

If you are a client or request legal assistance, we need to collect personal information and sensitive information to perform our services. Information that we collect about you might include:

  • your identification and contact details. For example, your name, address, email, phone number, and birth date;
  • information about your financial situation. For example, your housing situation, job, financial status and income;
  • information about your background. For example, your family type, country of birth, race or ethnicity, year of arrival in Australia, language spoken at home, English proficiency, and need for an interpreter;
  • health information. For example, any disabilities;
  • criminal history; and
  • details of the services you have requested or been provided.

Other personal information and sensitive information may be collected if we provide you or a client with legal advice. This includes other personal information or sensitive information that you or a client gives us.

Due to the nature of our services, it is likely that we will collect sensitive information from our clients. “Sensitive information” includes health information and information about a person’s racial or ethnic origin, political or philosophical beliefs or associations, work or professional associations, sexual preferences or practices, or criminal record. We only collect sensitive information if you allow us to.

If you use our website, certain information may be collected regarding how you use our website. This includes Internet identifiers. For example, IP addresses and the geographical location of your ISP data centre.

If you apply to work or volunteer for MHLC, we need to collect personal information to assess your application and in relation to the work you perform. For example, your name and contact information, qualifications and experience, resume, and education, employment and volunteer history.

How do we collect personal information?

Our preference is to collect personal information about you directly, with your agreement. You do not have to agree to your personal information being collected. However, if you do not agree, we may not be able to assist you.

Information will generally be collected from the following sources:

  • directly from you. This includes if you request or receive legal services from us, contact us, or visit our website. We may collect this information from you in-person, online, by email, or over the phone;
  • from clients. For example, if they provide information about you when talking to our lawyers or volunteers. This includes to undertake conflict checks; and
  • referrals from third parties. For example, if we receive information about you from a referring organisation or support person.

How do we use and disclose personal information?

Purposes for which we may collect, use or disclose your personal information include:

  • to provide our services. This includes giving you advice, information, resources, referrals to other organisations, casework, or representation. This also includes incidental uses and disclosures that occur as part of the standard operation of our organisation;
  • to communicate with you. For example, to respond to your enquiries, questions, requests and complaints relating to our services;
  • to assess applications for work and volunteer positions at MHLC; and
  • complying with applicable laws. We may use or disclose your personal information when complying with our legal and regulatory obligations;

If you do not provide us with the required personal information, we may not be able to give you access to our services or legal assistance.

We may also use your personal information in an anonymised, aggregated or de-identified form. For example:

  • for anonymous case studies. Our staff may compile anonymous case studies based on the experience of our clients. These are used to help explain our services and highlight the needs of our clients;
  • to conduct research based on our Online Help web application. Usage analytics are collected about users of the Online Help web application. For example, the number of users, their role, and the areas of law viewed. This information helps us to expand our offerings, focus on services that are in high demand and apply for additional funding; and
  • to comply with out funding agreements. We are required to provide some de-identified information to funding agencies. We do not provide funding agencies with identifying information, such as your name or address.
  • to identify trends and changes in the demographics of people accessing our services. We may use and disclose de-identified information to help us understand and communicate the demographics of people requesting legal information and our services.

We do not use your personal information to engage in commercial marketing activities.

Who do we share your personal information with?

We may share your personal information with employees, volunteers, contractors or service providers for the purpose of providing our services.

Certain third parties may access your personal information. These include:

  • third parties who enable us to provide our services. For example, IT systems administrators, process servers, couriers, electronic network administrators and professional advisors (e.g. accountants, solicitors and barristers); and
  • government bodies, regulatory agencies, law enforcement or exchange bodies or courts. We only do this where we are required to do so by applicable law or regulation or at their request.

Where do we store your personal information?

We, including our service providers, may hold electronic records of your personal information using cloud technology, by other electronic means, or in paper form. All of the electronic personal information we hold is hosted on servers located in Australia. However, in the course of using cookies and web-analytics on our website, some information may be held or processed outside Australia, including the USA and the European Union. It is not practicable for us to specify in advance the location of every service provider or user who we deal with.

How do we protect your personal information?

We take reasonable steps to protect and secure your personal information from misuse, loss and unauthorised access, modification and disclosure.

We will only keep your personal information for as long as reasonably necessary to satisfy the purpose that we collected it for or to comply with legal, regulatory or internal policy requirements. We will close your file once the matter is completed. We store closed files in a secure manner for the period of time required by law.

How can you access your personal information?

If you want to access the personal information that we hold about you, you can contact us at any time using the details at the end of this Privacy Policy. If we hold information that you have a right to access, we will try to provide the information in the manner requested.

It is generally free to request access to your personal information. However, we may require you to meet our reasonable costs of providing you with access.

There may be instances where we cannot give you access to the personal information held. For example, if this would interfere with the privacy of others or if it would lead to a breach of confidentiality.

If you request access to your client files, the Principal Solicitor will view the file and approve any copies of material to be provided to you prior to access. You may only be provided with access to the relevant parts of your client files.

We will respond to all requests for access correction within a reasonable time.

How can you correct your personal information?

We take reasonable steps to ensure that personal information we collect, use and disclose is accurate, up to date, complete and relevant.

If you want to correct the personal information that we hold about you, you can contact us using the details at the end of this Privacy Policy.

If you have requested that we change information about you because it is not correct, out of date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading, we will reasonably consider your request. If we agree that the information requires correction, we will take reasonable steps to correct that information.

If we do not agree that there are appropriate reasons for correction, then you may request that we add a note to your personal information stating that you disagree with the information. We will take reasonable steps to comply with your request.

We will respond to all requests for correction within a reasonable time.

How do we use cookies?

We may from time to time use cookies or other trackers on our website (Trackers). Trackers allow us to access and store information or resources on a user’s device when they interact with our website. One type of Tracker is a cookie, which is a very small file which a website uses to identify you when you come back to the website and to store details about your use of the website.

Our website uses Google Analytics to analyse web traffic coming to our website. If you do not agree to the use of Trackers on our website, please disable them by following the instructions for your browser or device, or by using the automated disabling tool where available.

The Online Help web application on our website does not use Google Analytics. Our Online Help web application uses Matomo Analytics cookies for research purposes. These analytics will capture information, such as the number of users, the user’s role (e.g. person with mental health challenges, family member, carer or referring organisation), and the areas of law viewed. Our Online Help web application uses session cookies, which is a cookie that only exists in temporary memory while you navigate our Online Help web application. Session cookies expire or are deleted when you close the web browser.

How do we change our Privacy Policy?

We may change or update parts of this Privacy Policy from time to time. For example, to ensure this Privacy Policy is consistent with law or our information collection practices. If we change our Privacy Policy, we will update it on

How can you make a complaint?

If you have a complaint or question about the way in which we have handled any privacy issue, please contact us. This can be done by email using the subject line “Privacy Complaint” to or by calling us on (03) 9629) 4422.

We treat all complaints confidentially. Once your complaint has been received, we will aim to investigate and respond to your complaint within 30 days.

If you are not satisfied with how we manage your complaint, you may contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The OAIC can be contacted at GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001 or

How can you contact us?

If you have any questions about our Privacy Policy or how we handle your personal information, please contact our Manager via email at or by phone on (03) 9629) 4422.

The Privacy Policy was last updated on the 18th of August 2022.