Mick Batskos - Executive Director
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Mick Batskos

FOI Solutions was established by its Executive Director, Mick Batskos, who has over 26 years experience in all administrative law areas. Mick was employed by a major national law firm for more than 10 years until establishing FOI Solutions in 1998. In that capacity, he practised extensively in all aspects of administrative law, particularly in freedom of information and privacy. 

In October, 2013 Mick became one of the first Accredited Specialists in Administrative Law in Victoria having chaired the Administrative Law Advisory Committee which assisted with the establishment and assessment of that area of specialisation.

FOI Solutions practices in FOI matters ranging from dealing with requests as soon as they come in, right through to conducting appeals to the High Court of Australia. Mick has developed a reputation as an expert in freedom of information, privacy and other administrative law areas, and is often sought to speak in training and continuing legal education seminars for clients and the legal profession.  FOI Solutions also conducts a comprehensive training schedule.

FOI Solutions was established to add value to government agencies at all levels by providing answers to their freedom of information, privacy and other administrative law problems and needs. Mick's expertise and knowledge in the niche areas of administrative law (particularly freedom of information and privacy) means that FOI Solutions is able to provide large firm service and partner level expertise at a substantially lower price. This has ensured a continued flow of quality work from a stable and growing base of government clients.

In November 2005 Mick was awarded a Certificate of Service by the Law Institute of Victoria for demonstrated professional excellence and making a special contribution to the legal profession in administrative law.

From 2008 through to 2010 Mick was the instructing solicitor in two High Court appeals on behalf of the Secretary to the Department of Justice of Victoria in relation to a freedom of information matter.

In 2012 Mick was appointed the Chairperson of the Administrative Law Advisory Committee of the Law Institute of Victoria to assist in establishing an Administrative Law Specialisation Accreditation.

In 2013 Mick was one of the first legal practitioners in Victoria to become recognised as an Accredited Specialist in Administrative Law.  Accordingly, FOI Solutions has become one of the first firms in Victoria to become a specialist law firm in administrative law.

Freedom of Information Experience

Mick is pre-eminent in the freedom of information field. Mick has extensive experience in the freedom of information area including:

  • appearing for clients in hearings before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ("VCAT") and the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal ("AAT");
  • advising and representing numerous clients in their dealings with the FOI Commissioner of Victoria;
  • advising numerous government clients orally and in writing in relation to all aspects about FOI from handling requests for access to conducting proceedings at all levels;
  • developing FOI procedures manuals for Victorian government agencies, local councils and Commonwealth government agencies;
  • conducting compliance audits to ensure processes and procedures are properly adhered to;
  • conducting proceedings in the VCAT (and its predecessor), AAT, Federal Court, Victorian Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and High Court of Australia;
  • conducting numerous seminars and training workshops (including on behalf of the Department of Justice - which administers the FOI Act in Victoria - when legislative changes were introduced by the Kennett and Bracks Governments respectively);
  • drafting the Victorian Government FOI Practice Notes (click here to view)
  • writing numerous journal articles and presentations on freedom of information including:
    • "Handy Hints for Making FOI Requests", (2001) 75 Law Institute Journal 59;
    • "Private Sector Release of Information: FOI Act extension or another avenue?" (1996) 8 FOI Forum 42.
    • "Recent Developments in Freedom of Information in Victoria" (1999) 20 AIAL Forum 22 (cited in Snell, Rick "Freedom of Information : The Experience of the Australian States - an Epiphany?" (2001) 29 Federal Law Review 343);
    • "Putting the 'O' back into FOI" (2000) 25 AIAL Forum 10 (cited in Snell, Rick "Freedom of Information : The Experience of the Australian States - an Epiphany?" (2001) 29 Federal Law Review 343).
  • contributing to the The Law Handbook, 2004 and to the Lawyers' Practice Manual (Springvale Legal Service).
Privacy Experience

FOI Solutions has provided to agencies:

  • detailed advice and drafting of documents in relation to implementation of the Information Privacy Act 2000 (Vic) ("IP Act");
  • advice generally under the IP Act and Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) ("HR Act")
  • advice in relation to the interaction of the IP Act and other legislation and access regimes (including the FOI Act);
  • privacy awareness and other training seminars for agency officers and staff;
  • appearing in privacy proceedings at VCAT for clients (see for example WL v La Trobe University and M v Department of Human Services);
  • conducting independent investigations and reports in respect of privacy complaints;
  • advising on complaint handling procedures.

Mick has a thorough knowledge of the IP Act and the HR Act including interaction with other legislation (eg FOI Act, register provisions in building and planning legislation, etc). FOI Solutions has provided advice to agencies in relation to implementation and compliance and long term strategies for dealing with privacy. Mick has also provided seminars in relation to general awareness of impacts of privacy legislation for agencies.

FOI Solutions has knowledge of the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 and Mick Batskos was the author of perhaps the first paper on that Act after it commenced operation in 1989 ("The Government's Obligation to Maintain Privacy of the Individual" (1989) 24 Australian Law News No.3, 29 - cited in Bygrave, Lee "The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth): A Study in the Protection of Privacy and the Protection of Political Power" (1990) 19 Federal Law Review 128).  He has also written various articles on privacy including:

    • "Complaints, Investigations and Disputes Under the Proposed Privacy Act Extension to the Private Sector" (1996) 11 AIAL Forum 34;
    • "Administrative Law and Potential Litigation: Proposed Extension of Privacy Act To Private Sector" (1997) 12 AIAL Forum 20.

Mick is familiar with the operation of the Information Privacy Principles ("IPPs") and Health Privacy Principles("HPPs"), their genesis in the OECD guidelines and subsequently in the National Privacy Principles ("NPPs") developed by the Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner and upon which the IPPs and HPPs are based.

Other administrative law experience

Mick has extensive experience in a range of other administrative law areas.  He has written numerous articles and papers on various topics, some of which have been referred to in decided Court and Tribunal cases (eg "Natural Justice and the Constitution of Tribunal Membership" (1998) 16 AIAL Forum 22, referred to in Comcare v Broadhurst [2011] FCAFC 39 at [90] and in Port Phillip City Council v Hickey [2001] VSC 129 ).  Some of those include:

  • "State-owned Enterprises: does administrative law apply?" (1994) 68 Law Institute Journal 839;
  • "Applicability of Administrative Law to Government Business Enterprises Under the State Owned Enterprises Act 1992" (1994) 1 AIAL Forum 130;
  • "Applicability of Administrative Law to Government Business Enterprises: The Victorian Perspective under the State Owned Enterprises Act 1992" (1993) 14 Australian Administrative Law Newsletter (cited in Griggs, Lynden; Snell, Rick "Natural Justice - An Alternative Ground for Intervention in Corporate Decision Making?" (1994) 10 Queensland University of Technology Law Journal 22, 34).
Current Position: Executive Director, FOI Solutions
Executive Director, FOI Support
Contact Details: Telephone: (61 3) 9601 4111
Fax: (61 3) 9601 4101 or 9601 4121
E-mail: mick@foisolutions.com.au
Qualifications:
  • Accredited Specialist in Administrative Law, 2013;
  • LLB (Hons) - Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws, Monash University, 1988 (Honours thesis on Freedom of Information);
  • B.Ec - Bachelor of Economics, Monash University, 1986
Relevant Employment History:
  • Executive Director, FOI Solutions, 1998 to date
  • Executive Director, FOI Support, 2009 to date
  • Executive Director FOI Resources, 2004 to 2008 (replaced by FOI Support)
  • Member, Building Appeals Board, 1999 to 2004
  • Senior Associate, solicitor and articled clerk, Mallesons Stephen Jaques 1988-1998.

 

Legal Staff

Elisa Hesling

Elisa is a Senior Associate who commenced with FOI Solutions in February 2012.  Elisa previously worked for the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services in Victoria advising on Information Privacy and Freedom of Information, including all aspects of applying that legislation, as well as managing contested VCAT proceedings. Elisa has also worked in a commercial law firm and as an Associate to the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (in her previous capactiy as a Judge).

Elisa was admitted to practice in 1999.  She has extensive experience in FOI law, Privacy law and policy and other administrative law areas and has demonstrated those skills in assisting an extensive number of clients at FOI Solutions.  In October 2015 Elisa obtained Accreditation from the Law Institute of Victoria as a Specialist in Administrative Law.

Current Position: Senior Associate, FOI Solutions
Contact Details: Telephone: (61 3) 9601 4111
Fax: (61 3) 9601 4101
E-mail: elisa@foisolutions.com.au
Qualifications:
  • Accredited Specialist in Administrative Law, 2015
  • Admitted to Practice, Vic, 1999
  • LLB, Deakin University, 1999
  • Practical Training, Leo Cussen Institute, 1999
  • BA, La Trobe University, 1995

 

Amy Hu

Amy is a Senior Solicitor who commenced with FOI Solutions in August 2010.  Amy came to us from the Victorian Department of Human Services where she was responsible for handling VCAT proceedings involving freedom of information matters for the Department of Human Services and Department of Health. Before that Amy was employed in private practice.

Amy was admitted to practice in 2008.  She has expertise in Victorian FOI law and policy as well as privacy and other general administrative law areas.

Current Position: Senior Solicitor, FOI Solutions
Contact Details: Telephone: (61 3) 9601 4111
Fax: (61 3) 9601 4101
E-mail: amy@foisolutions.com.au
Qualifications:
  • Admitted to Practice, Vic, 2008
  • LLB, Monash University, 2005
  • BA (Hons), Monash University, 2004

 

Katy Zhu

Katy is a Solicitor who commenced with FOI Solutions in September 2017.  Katy previously worked for the Australian Taxation Office where she gained extensive experience in the areas of freedom of information, privacy, and information disclosure laws.  She also worked for a consulting company where she provided governance and compliance services to highly regulated organisations.

Katy was admitted to practice in 2014.

Current Position: Solicitor, FOI Solutions
Contact Details: Telephone: (61 3) 9601 4111
Fax: (61 3) 9601 4101
E-mail: katy@foisolutions.com.au
Qualifications:
  • Admitted to Practice, Vic, 2014
  • LLB, Australian National University, 2011
  • B Econs, Australian National University, 2011

 

Law Clerks

Arhita Del Fierro

Arhita joined FOI Solutions in September 2017.  Arhita is in the process of undertaking a combined Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degree at La Trobe University. She has a Certificate IV in Legal Services, expertise in working in a law firm and with a barrister, and brings a strong background in customer service.  Arhita provides legal research and other support to our office and is an integral part of our team.

Tel: (61 3) 9601 4111

Fax: (61 3) 9601 4101

Email: clerk3@foisolutions.com.au

Rebecca Griffiths

 

Rebecca joined FOI Solutions in September 2017.  Rebecca is in the process of undertaking a combined Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce degree at Deakin University.  She has a strong background in customer service and staff supervision and management.  Rebecca provides legal research and other support to our office and is an integral part of our team.

Tel: (61 3) 9601 4111

Fax: (61 3) 9601 4101

Email: clerk1@foisolutions.com.au

Aimi Tran

 

Aimi joined FOI Solutions in September 2017.  Aimi is in the process of undertaking a combined Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degree at Monash University.  She has a strong academic and research background as well as a experience in adminstrative assistance in a law firm.  Aimi provides legal research and other support to our office and is an integral part of our team.

Tel: (61 3) 9601 4111

Fax: (61 3) 9601 4101

Email: Clerk2@foisolutions.com.au

 

Administrative Staff

Jackie Sheppard

Jackie Sheppard is the FOI Solutions Office Manager. She joined the firm in June 2009 after over 16 years experience in various positions including as an Office Manager and a Financial Administration Manager. 

Jackie's accounting and organisational skills are essential in ensuring that the FOI Solutions office and staff are operating efficiently to meet clients' needs. She is responsible for the overall smooth running of the office. 

Tel: (61 3) 9601 4111

Fax: (61 3) 9601 4101

Email: jackie@foisolutions.com.au

 

Roisin Mcguigan

 

Commencing with FOI Solutions in September 2016, Roisin brings her extensive background in marketing and administration to our firm.  Since graduating from the Univesrity of Hull in Philosophy and Literature, Roisin has acquired depth of expertise in ensuring the smooth operation of office environments.  She is an important part of our firm and is the first point of contact for many clients dealing with us.

Tel: (61 3) 9601 4111

Fax: (61 3) 9601 4101

Email: roisin@foisolutions.com.au