Part 5: Legal advice, legal processes and notarial service

Appendix 21A: State and territory law societies

21.1 Provision of lists of lawyers

Australians in difficulties abroad often seek legal advice from consular officers. Officers must not give legal advice, but should advise the enquirer to consult a qualified lawyer, either locally or in Australia, depending on the case.

While posts must not recommend legal advisers, they are required to hold and maintain a list of local lawyers. All lawyers should have some English language capability and list other language skills and their area(s) of expertise. Posts should ensure that at least one specialist in family law, including child abductions, is listed.

Posts are considered to have met the requirements if they are able to refer clients to a comprehensive and electronically accessible list of appropriately qualified English-speaking local lawyers that is maintained by a reputable local law society, bar association or equivalent organisation in the host country. The list should include a standard disclaimer. Posts are required to keep the Lawyers list in their k-base up to date at all times. While the Department does not recommend or accept responsibility for the quality of work performed by any lawyer on a post's list, posts should make preliminary enquiries (including with like-minded missions) to justify the inclusion of a lawyer or legal firm on their list.

If enquirers seek the name of a lawyer in Australia, consular officers should provide the name and address of the appropriate state or territory law society and advise the enquirers to make direct contact, stating the nature of the matter in which they seek representation or advice. Contact details of the state and territory Law Societiescan be found on the Internet or in the Yellow Pages of the relevant Australian telephone directory.

21.2 Role of consular officer

While an Australian seeking protection is pursuing satisfaction through local legal channels, the consular officer must not give advice on any legal aspect of the case and must not advance funds for obtaining local legal advice or assistance.

Australians or Australian companies involved in matters, such as legal proceedings over property matters and actions for compensation, are expected to engage appropriate legal representation to protect their interests. In these cases, consular officers may fulfil their function by monitoring progress of the case without normally being required to attend in court. If officers are in doubt whether attendance in court is desirable, they should seek guidance from Consular Operations.

In Australia, legal aid is provided through Legal Aid Commissions in all states and territories, but these will not normally grant legal aid for legal costs incurred abroad. Contact details for these bodies are in relevant phone directories.

When an Australian's life or liberty is threatened and the Australian Government has a direct interest in the case, an application for ex gratia assistance may be made to the Attorney-General for costs incurred in legal proceedings overseas.

Assistance under the Special Circumstances (Overseas) Scheme (www.ag.gov.au) is provided only in the most exceptional circumstances, for example when the Australian Government has a direct involvement in the matter, or in overseas criminal cases when the applicant is facing a lengthy period of imprisonment or the death penalty. In the absence of special circumstances, a lack of financial means to pay for overseas legal fees is not sufficient in itself to justify financial assistance.

Each application is considered on its own merits. In order to determine its reasonableness, including legal merits, the degree of hardship involved, the inability to obtain legal or financial assistance from other sources (eg. legal aid authorities in Australia and the country concerned), and whether there are any special circumstances warranting a grant of ex gratia assistance are all taken into account.

An application for ex gratia assistance made to an overseas post may be sent by diplomatic bag addressed to the:

Assistant Secretary
Legal Assistance Branch
Attorney-General's Department
National Circuit
BARTON ACT 2600

Telephone: +61 2 6141 4770
Facsimile: +61 2 6141 4926

A copy should be sent to DFAT, addressed Attention: Senior Legal Adviser/International Legal Division.

For assistance available in child custody cases, see Chapter 11.

Chapter 22: Notarial services and other legal procedures

This chapter should be read in conjunction with the Notarial Services Handbook [DOCX 4.42 MB].

22.1 Eligibility for notarial services

The law in most countries requires that a signature on a document be witnessed or other procedures applied before the document can be used for legal purposes or in a court of law. Solicitors, justices of the peace, and notaries public normally perform these functions in Australia, but the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade may also be authorised to do so.

Within Australia, DFAT state and territory or passport offices are authorised to provide services such as;

DFAT provides a limited range of notarial services overseas through its diplomatic missions. These services are for Australian documents, or foreign documents intended for use in Australia.

Within Australia, services such as certifying true copies, statutory declaration and other witnessing services are conducted by Australian Notaries Public, Justices of the Peace or other authorised officials. If a document that has been certified or witnessed is then to be used overseas, it is normally only the signature of Australian Notaries Public that can be legalised (through Apostille or Authentication) by DFAT.

Australian Consulates headed by Honorary Consuls and Canadian missions delivering consular assistance in locations where there are no Australian missions are not permitted to provide the services above (unless it is in relation to an Australian Passport application and they are authorised to interview clients).

Overseas, the authorisation is delegated to Australia-based (A-based) DFAT diplomatic and consular officers, including AUSTRADE A-based officers employed in an AUSTRADE-run consulate. These officers are authorised to perform the following tasks:

22.2 Other references

This chapter sets out the steps in the taking of evidence and service of documents abroad. Itshould be read in conjunction with the “Notarial Services Handbook”. which outlines the procedures for performing the most commonly requested notarial acts which include witnessing and authenticating documents, administering oaths and affirmations, witnessing statutory declarations,. Consular officers may, from time to time, also be called on to provide assistance with other aspects of legal process. In these cases, additional instructions are provided by Canberra.

22.3 Definitions

Definitions of legal terms in this chapter are in Appendix 22A.

22.4 Consular Management Information System (CMIS)

CMIS contains templates to assist in delivering some notarial services. Consular officers at overseas posts are encouraged to develop post-specific templates to assist with providing services such as issuing Certificates of No Impediment. CMIS is also used to collect statistics on notarial work.

22.5 General points about notarial services

Notarial work is another one of DFAT's client services. Clients expect prompt, courteous and accurate service.

It is the responsibility of the client to present the document to be serviced in the correct form, and to provide the correct instructions for servicing.

Some notarial acts, such as witnessing signatures, taking declarations, or administering oaths in particular, are serious, private occasions and should be performed with due solemnity. They should be performed in a private room or area if possible.

The content of any statements in a document sworn or declared is not the consular officer's responsibility: the consular role is to service the document correctly
When placing stamps and seals on documents, do not cover any text in the document.

22.6 Confidentiality

Subject to the following paragraph, officers performing notarial services must not disclose any information of which they become aware during the process of issuing an authentication or apostille. This caveat applies to both personal and commercial information.

Despite the above, there is no concept of 'consular client confidentiality' for admissions of possible criminal conduct by a consular client. DFAT officers who become aware of information which could reasonably be suspected to relate to the commission of a serious criminal offence must follow the procedure set out in Admin. Circ N543/09 on Australian extraterritorial offences and the responsibility to report.

22.7 Fraud

Should you have any misgivings regarding the veracity of a document (or there are serious grounds to believe that a document has been illegally notarised or may be put to fraudulent use), before providing authentication or affixing an Apostille, you should immediately inform your supervisor, who should in turn advise Consular Policy Branch consular.policy@dfat.gov.au and the Conduct and Ethics Unit of the Department in Canberra.

In accordance with the DFAT guidance and procedures for dealing with fraud, all attempted, alleged, suspected and detected frauds must be reported immediately by contacting the Consular Policy and Training Section (CTS) and the Fraud Control Section (FCS) fraud@dfat.gov.au

22.8 Before providing a notarial service

The consular officer should draw the client's attention to the Disclaimer and the schedule of fees and calculate and advise the cost of the service requested before proceeding.

When relevant, clients should be asked to bring photo ID to enable the consular officer to identify the client to ensure they are the person named on the document.
Precise instructions are provided on many documents. The consular officer should read the instructions on the document, and/or in this handbook and make sure they understand exactly what service is requested. They should then assemble the required tools and take the time to ensure the act is performed correctly and that all parties understand the process.

22.9 Notarial procedures explained

The Notarial Service s Handbook contains a detailed description of the most commonly requested notarial services: what they are for, who is authorised to perform the service, and steps to be followed.

22.10 Taking of evidence

The conventions on Legal Proceedings in Civil and Commercial Matters, as well as the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters (1970) and a number of bilateral agreements, make provision for taking evidence for use in civil proceedings in Australia in countries that are party to the conventions. When no formal arrangements exist between Australia and foreign countries for taking evidence, requests for assistance of the foreign court are based on international comity (courtesy).

There are four main procedures for taking evidence:

Available methods vary from country to country, depending on the terms of the conventions and the reservations by countries which have ratified them. The Internet web site of the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department provides comprehensive information on the procedures applicable in foreign countries.

Canberra provides detailed instructions when evidence is to be taken in a foreign country by a consular officer. Taking evidence from a witness in a foreign country by an Australian court via video link is generally not provided for in the relevant conventions or agreements. Requests to take video evidence are dealt with as a matter of comity (international courtesy). Posts may be requested by Canberra to determine whether local authorities object to video evidence in their territory by Australian courts, and provide details of the procedures that must be followed before this evidence can be taken.

Appointment of a special examiner

A diplomatic or consular officer may be appointed as a special examiner to take the evidence. The function of the special examiner is to chair the proceedings. Counsel for both parties is usually present.

Generally, the special examiner must swear in the shorthand reporter and interpreter, if any, and then the witness. The counsel proceeds in turn with their examination of the witness. Should either counsel object to a question by the other, this must be noted in the record. Once the examination is completed, the special examiner must read the depositions to the witness and have them sign them. The special examiner will then sign and seal the document at the conclusion of the depositions. The document must be returned to the relevant court in Australia.

Canberra will provide consular officers with the necessary instructions, and the appointed officer may also be able to discuss procedure with counsel, prior to the commencement of the proceedings.

22.11 Letters of no objection

Consular staff at posts are often called upon to provide documents titled Letters of No Objection. These are generally required as part of the paperwork submitted to a host government in relation to, for example, Australians applying for visas from third countries. Posts providing these letters should not indicate support for this travel, but rather that the Australian government does not object to it.

When the Letter of No Objection is for a country with a Do Not Travel warning, consular staff should request that the client sign a declaration stating that:

Letters of No Objection for entry into Gaza require approval from either the Minister or the Consular Policy and Training Section, depending on the circumstances.

The consular fee for this service is in 22.8.

22.12 Service of documents overseas

Australia is a party to a series of uniform conventions on legal proceedings in civil and commercial matters. The conventions which deal with the methods of serving legal process and taking evidence, generally direct service requests, are made through the diplomatic channel to the relevant authority in the country to which the request for service has been directed.

Requests for service of legal documents overseas generally originate in the superior courts of the states and territories, following an application by one or both parties to the proceedings. Once the documentation is complete, including translations into the language of the requested country, it is sealed by the court and sent to the relevant state premier's department which will, in turn, ask the Department to arrange for service. The Department sends the documents to the appropriate post.

The post's responsibility is to ensure that the request for service is passed to the competent local authorities (in the first instance, the Foreign Ministry) and, once service has been effected, to advise the Department of the costs so these may be recovered from the party making the original request.

When served documents are returned to the post by the local authorities, it is important they are accompanied by a Certificate of Service or an Affidavit of Service. The Certificate of Service, which is to be returned by the post to the Department, should indicate how the person to be served was identified, how service was effected, and the date the service was effected. It should also be signed by the person who served the documents.

When no convention for legal proceedings exists between Australia and a foreign country, persons wishing to effect service in that country are generally referred to private legal channels for assistance. There are, however, exceptional cases when the Department will assist in the absence of such a convention. For example Japan, where service of foreign process is not permitted through private channels.

22.13 Service on Australia-based staff

Australia-based staff overseas are not immune from the jurisdiction of the Australian courts and authorities but are, generally, immune from the service of legal process in the country to which they are accredited. This makes the service of Australian legal documents on them through the usual channels problematic.

Heads of Mission may therefore be requested to (in confidence) serve documents arising from Australian court proceedings on Australia-based staff in their mission. Service by a Head of Mission would not involve the costs of attempted service by an agent or local authority, which could fall to the officer. The Head of Mission may, at their discretion, choose either to serve the documents on the officer or return them un-actioned to the Department.

22.14 Service of documents in Australia

It is unlikely that Australian missions abroad will be approached for advice or assistance in serving foreign process in Australia. In the case of countries party to the relevant convention, requests for service from foreign courts are transmitted to the appropriate state or territory authorities for action via that country's mission in Australia and the Department.

When no convention exists, persons wishing to serve foreign civil process in Australia should make their own arrangements through private legal channels. If service is required by the initiating foreign court to be effected through diplomatic channels in Australia, assistance may be provided as a matter of comity. Further information on the service of process abroad and in Australia are on the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department's website.

22.15 Assisting in School Enrolment

Frequently, before a student can be enrolled abroad, a school will require a certificate which states the level of education achieved in Australia. This should be provided in general terms, on the basis of evidence produced by the applicant. As the requirements of Australian states vary in terms of years of attendance and definition of levels reached in both primary and secondary education, these certificates should be based on years of study. For example, if a student has completed Third Form in Victoria, the certificate should state that the student has completed nine years of schooling.

When a student has not completed a full year, the certificate should indicate this by stating in terms of the example above, that the student has completed eight years of schooling, and has attended one term of the ninth year of education.

A certificate may include only details supported by acceptable documentary evidence. If the evidence available is inadequate, officers should suggest writing to the school or institute involved to obtain the necessary evidence.

22.16 Sample educational certificate

These certificates should take a form similar to the following:

22.17 Eligibility to enter a tertiary institute

Posts may be asked to provide a certificate stating that an Australian is eligible to enter a tertiary institute in Australia. This certificate should not be given without documentary proof. Proof required is normally in the form of a letter from the appropriate authority in the relevant state – for example the list of Secondary Education Accrediting Authorities listed on the Australian qualifications Framework Register. When this statement is subsequently produced, the consular officer may then issue a certificate.

22.18 Standing of an educational organisation

In some cases, particularly organisations at the tertiary level, a certificate is required stating that a particular Australian educational organisation has a particular educational level.

These certificates can only be given when consular officers are aware that the information is correct. The required information can frequently be obtained from the Australian Qualifications Framework website.

22.19 Supervision of examinations overseas

On some occasions posts may be requested to supervise examinations arranged for Australian state or federal educational institutions. However, this facility is extended only when satisfactory local alternatives for supervising examinations are not available. Offices of the British Council can often assist in providing supervision for examinations.

When no alternative local arrangements can be made, posts should attempt, as far as practical, to provide assistance. Spouses of A-based staff can often assist in these cases. While the post will facilitate contact between the examiners and supervisors, all financial arrangements should be made directly between those two parties.

When examination supervision is sought by an Australian commercial education service provider, even when that body may be contracted by the Australian government to deliver educational services in Australia or overseas, it is not appropriate from a commercial ethical perspective for posts' resources to be used for this. Posts may, however, assist a commercial provider in finding a suitable organisation in country to provide the supervision service on a commercial basis.

When conducted by post staff, all fees for supervision of examinations by officers should be paid into revenue-Miscellaneous-Consular Fees. It is not expected that any circumstances will require an examination to be supervised outside office hours and posts should decline requests for this. If, however, exceptional circumstances require an examination outside office hours, the officer undertaking supervision may be entitled to overtime.

23.1 Authority to issue apostilles

Only Australian diplomatic and consular officers working in DFAT Canberra, or in a state or territory office can issue an apostille. An apostille can only be placed on documents bearing the signature/stamp/seal of someone holding an Australian public office, such as an Australian government official or an Australian notary public. If the document is not an Australian public document, it must be notarised by an Australian notary public before an apostille can be requested. Once an apostille stamp is affixed to a public document, it does not need to be re-certified overseas by an Australian post.

Advise clients seeking an apostille to submit the relevant documents (providing they are public documents) to the DFAT state or territory office in which the document was issued. If there is doubt about whether a document qualifies as a public document, the client should seek clarification from the relevant state or territory DFAT office before the document/s are sent to the office. The notarial guidelines provide further advice on the issue of apostilles.

Authenticity of an Australian apostille

The Canberra office and each state or territory office maintain separate registers of the apostilles they have issued. The registration number usually consists of one alphabetical character followed by a four-digit number. The alphabetical character denotes which state or territory office has issued the apostille: A for Adelaide, B for Brisbane, C for Canberra, D for Darwin, H for Hobart, M for Melbourne, P for Perth and S for Sydney (eg. the first apostille registered in Sydney was numbered S0001). Apostilles issued in Canberra and numbered C28-C532 inclusive, while not containing leading zeroes in the registered number, are valid.

Steps to issue an apostille

The issuing officer should:

  1. Check the document is an Australian public document, or bears the signature/stamp or seal of someone holding a public office in Australia.
  2. Open the Signature and Seals database in CMIS and click on the name of the person whose signature or seal to be authenticated. The database will show an example of their signature or seal.
  3. Compare the two. If the issuing officer is completely satisfied the signature and/or seal on the document is the same as the one demonstrated in CMIS, they may go ahead and authenticate the document by placing the apostille stamp on it, signing it, filling in the details requested, and placing the official stamp over the corner of their signature.
  4. The issuing officer should then impress the official dry seal over a red wafer onto the place indicated, using the embossing tool.
  5. Register the apostille.

Form of the certificate

The certificate is in the form of a square with sides at least 9 centimetres long as shown below:

The apostille certificate must not be placed over any of the text of the document. If necessary, it can be placed on the back of the document, or another page added. If another page is added, the document must be bound. (see binding 22.26)

CMIS can be used to print onto the document an apostille stamp, already completed with the required details.

Issuing an apostille is a single notarial act described in 22.8 on the consular fees schedule. If it consists of more than one page the binding fee is added, unless binding only became necessary because a second page was added to accommodate the stamp.

23.2 Taking evidence

The conventions on Legal Proceedings in Civil and Commercial Matters, as well as the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters (1970) and a number of bilateral agreements, make provision for taking evidence for use in civil proceedings in Australia in countries that are party to the conventions. When no formal arrangements exist between Australia and foreign countries for taking evidence, requests for assistance of the foreign court are based on international comity (courtesy).

There are four main procedures for taking evidence:

Available methods vary from country to country, depending on the terms of the conventions and the reservations by countries which have ratified them. The Internet web site of the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department provides comprehensive information on the procedures applicable in foreign countries: http://www.ag.gov.au/Internationalrelations/PrivateInternationalLaw/Pages/Takingofevidenceacrossinternationalborders.aspx

Canberra provides detailed instructions when evidence is to be taken in a foreign country by a consular officer. Taking evidence from a witness in a foreign country by an Australian court via video link is generally not provided for in the relevant conventions or agreements. Requests to take video evidence are dealt with as a matter of comity (international courtesy). Posts may be requested by Canberra to determine whether local authorities object to video evidence in their territory by Australian courts, and provide details of the procedures that must be followed before this evidence can be taken.

Appointment of a special examiner

A diplomatic or consular officer may be appointed as a special examiner to take the evidence. The function of the special examiner is to chair the proceedings. Counsel for both parties is usually present.

Generally, the special examiner must swear in the shorthand reporter and interpreter, if any, and then the witness. The counsel proceeds in turn with their examination of the witness. Should either counsel object to a question by the other, this must be noted in the record. Once the examination is completed, the special examiner must read the depositions to the witness and have them sign them. The special examiner will then sign and seal the document at the conclusion of the depositions. The document must be returned to the relevant court in Australia.

Canberra will provide consular officers with the necessary instructions, and the appointed officer may also be able to discuss procedure with counsel, prior to the commencement of the proceedings.

23.3 Letters of no objection

Consular staff at posts are often called upon to provide documents titled Letters of No Objection. These are generally required as part of the paperwork submitted to a host government in relation to, for example, Australians applying for visas from third countries. Posts providing these letters should not indicate support for this travel, but rather that the Australian government does not object to it.

When the Letter of No Objection is for a country with a Do Not Travel warning, consular staff should request that the client sign a declaration stating that:

Letters of No Objection for entry into Gaza require approval from either the Minister or the Consular Policy and Training Section, depending on the circumstances.

The consular fee for this service is in 22.8.

23.4 Service of documents overseas

Australia is a party to a series of uniform conventions on legal proceedings in civil and commercial matters. The conventions which deal with the methods of serving legal process and taking evidence, generally direct service requests, are made through the diplomatic channel to the relevant authority in the country to which the request for service has been directed.

Requests for service of legal documents overseas generally originate in the superior courts of the states and territories, following an application by one or both parties to the proceedings. Once the documentation is complete, including translations into the language of the requested country, it is sealed by the court and sent to the relevant state premier's department which will, in turn, ask the Department to arrange for service. The Department sends the documents to the appropriate post.

The post's responsibility is to ensure that the request for service is passed to the competent local authorities (in the first instance, the Foreign Ministry) and, once service has been effected, to advise the Department of the costs so these may be recovered from the party making the original request.

When served documents are returned to the post by the local authorities, it is important they are accompanied by a Certificate of Service or an Affidavit of Service. The Certificate of Service, which is to be returned by the post to the Department, should indicate how the person to be served was identified, how service was effected, and the date the service was effected. It should also be signed by the person who served the documents.

When no convention for legal proceedings exists between Australia and a foreign country, persons wishing to effect service in that country are generally referred to private legal channels for assistance. There are, however, exceptional cases when the Department will assist in the absence of such a convention. For example Japan, where service of foreign process is not permitted through private channels..

23.5 Service on Australia-based staff

Australia-based staff overseas are not immune from the jurisdiction of the Australian courts and authorities but are, generally, immune from the service of legal process in the country to which they are accredited. This makes the service of Australian legal documents on them through the usual channels problematic.

Heads of Mission may therefore be requested to (in confidence) serve documents arising from Australian court proceedings on Australia-based staff in their mission. Service by a Head of Mission would not involve the costs of attempted service by an agent or local authority, which could fall to the officer. The Head of Mission may, at their discretion, choose either to serve the documents on the officer or return them un-actioned to the Department.

23.6 Service of documents in Australia

It is unlikely that Australian missions abroad will be approached for advice or assistance in serving foreign process in Australia. In the case of countries party to the relevant convention, requests for service from foreign courts are transmitted to the appropriate state or territory authorities for action via that country's mission in Australia and the Department.

When no convention exists, persons wishing to serve foreign civil process in Australia should make their own arrangements through private legal channels. If service is required by the initiating foreign court to be effected through diplomatic channels in Australia, assistance may be provided as a matter of comity. Further information on the service of process abroad and in Australia are on the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department's website at http://www.ag.gov.au/Internationalrelations/PrivateInternationalLaw/Pages/Servingalegaldocumentacrossinternationalborders.aspx

23.7 Authentication of school and tertiary education certificates

School Certificates

Persons seeking authentication of school certificates issued by state education authorities should be asked to produce the original of the documents or a copy or photocopy certified by the authority which issued the original document. Posts should not authenticate educational certificates unless the signature of the authorised signatory is known to them.

Tertiary Education Certificates

Due to high incidence of fraud, all tertiary education certificates, regardless of whether they are computer generated or bear original signatures and seals, must be certified by the Student Administration area of the issuing institution as being a ‘true and accurate record’. Should the originating institute not wish to perform this certification, the document must be notarised by an Australian Notary Public. Once this certification has been obtained, the document may be authenticated by the Post after checking the signature of the Student Administration officer (or Notary Public) against the signatures and seals database.

It is the client’s responsibility to obtain the certification from the educational institution or Notary Public.

23.8 Educational certificates

Frequently, before a student can be enrolled abroad, a school will require a certificate which states the level of education achieved in Australia. This should be provided in general terms, on the basis of evidence produced by the applicant. As the requirements of Australian states vary in terms of years of attendance and definition of levels reached in both primary and secondary education, these certificates should be based on years of study. For example, if a student has completed Third Form in Victoria, the certificate should state that the student has completed nine years of schooling.

When a student has not completed a full year, the certificate should indicate this by stating in terms of the example above, that the student has completed eight years of schooling, and has attended one term of the ninth year of education.

A certificate may include only details supported by acceptable documentary evidence. If the evidence available is inadequate, officers should suggest writing to the school or institute involved to obtain the necessary evidence.

23.9 Sample educational certificate

These certificates should take a form similar to the following:

23.10 Eligibility to enter a tertiary institute

Posts may be asked to provide a certificate stating that an Australian is eligible to enter a tertiary institute in Australia. This certificate should not be given without documentary proof.

Persons educated in Australia who seek certificates confirming their eligibility to enter tertiary institutes in Australia, should be advised to request this statement from the appropriate authority in the relevant state. When this statement is subsequently produced, the consular officer may then issue a certificate.

23.11 Standing of an educational organisation

In some cases, particularly organisations at the tertiary level, a certificate is required stating that a particular Australian educational organisation has a particular educational level.

These certificates can only be given when consular officers are aware that the information is correct. The required information can frequently be obtained from university or other tertiary handbooks.

23.12 Supervision of examinations overseas

On some occasions posts may be requested to supervise examinations arranged for Australian state or federal educational institutions. However, this facility is extended only when satisfactory local alternatives for supervising examinations are not available. Offices of the British Council can often assist in providing supervision for examinations.

When no alternative local arrangements can be made, posts should attempt, as far as practical, to provide assistance. Spouses of A-based staff can often assist in these cases. While the post will facilitate contact between the examiners and supervisors, all financial arrangements should be made directly between those two parties.

When examination supervision is sought by an Australian commercial education service provider, even when that body may be contracted by the Australian government to deliver educational services in Australia or overseas, it is not appropriate from a commercial ethical perspective for posts' resources to be used for this. Posts may, however, assist a commercial provider in finding a suitable organisation in country to provide the supervision service on a commercial basis.

When conducted by post staff, all fees for supervision of examinations by officers should be paid into revenue-Miscellaneous-Consular Fees. It is not expected that any circumstances will require an examination to be supervised outside office hours and posts should decline requests for this. If, however, exceptional circumstances require an examination outside office hours, the officer undertaking supervision may be entitled to overtime.