image of Cain SibleyCain Sibley

Clayton Utz Partner , Canberra T +61 2 6279 4044 https://www.claytonutz.com

Specialising in administrative and public law and litigation, Cain has advised a range of government clients on statutory interpretation, administrative law, policy development and implementation, legislative drafting, privacy and freedom of information (FOI). 

Cain also advises food and agribusiness clients on food law, chemicals issues, import and export regulations and quarantine.

Through his former role as General Counsel of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), Cain has direct government experience and a unique understanding of navigating the public sector's unique challenges.

As a litigator, Cain has particular experience in administrative law proceedings involving complex legislative schemes and special interest litigants. He has acted in judicial review proceedings in the High Court and the Federal Court and acted for departments in appeals in the Administrative Review Tribunal.

Cain has a particular interest for developing legal understanding in others. For several years, Cain tutored Administrative Law at the ANU. He now regularly develops and delivers training to government clients in administrative law, legislative drafting FOI and privacy. 

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Expertise

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Administrative and Public Law

Cain regularly provides advice to a range of Commonwealth agencies on administrative law and decision-making matters. Cain's standout skills are providing pragmatic advice and actively managing legal risk in decision-making.

  • Commonwealth Agency: The agency was preparing to make a politically sensitive decision which was attracting significant media attention. Cain supported the agency by drafting briefings and statements of reasons which balanced its internal stakeholders' needs with the legal risks in the decision-making process.
  • Commonwealth Agency: The agency had made a series of decisions which it wanted to "un-make" without the need for litigation. Cain advised on the agency on the rules and risks and supported the agency to take a practical approach.
  • Commonwealth Agency: Cain advised the agency on practical ways to afford natural justice in circumstances where the traditional ways may not have worked.
  • Central Commonwealth Agency: The agency introduced a nationwide, two-day training program for employees in administrative law. Cain developed and delivered the training.

FOI and privacy

Cain advises clients on all aspects of information law. His experience includes acting for agencies in FOI matters before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, preparing privacy impact assessments and advising on the interpretation and application of secrecy provisions.

  • Government corporation: Cain drafts FOI internal review decisions.
  • Government Agency: Cain prepared a privacy impact assessment for a major new policy initiative in such a way that it could assist and facilitate in the delivery of the project (by providing options and practical recommendations).
  • Government Agency: Cain provides ongoing, ad-hoc advice on privacy and secrecy for the agency.

Food and agribusiness

Cain's previous experience as General-Counsel for the bi-national food regulator FSANZ uniquely positions him to advise food and agribusiness clients on the broad range of food regulatory issues.

  • US-based food manufacturer: Cain is working with the manufacturer to provide advice on labelling and compositional compliance for the launch of a new product range.
  • International food manufacturer: Cain is advising the manufacturer on import and quarantine restrictions for heat-and-serve products.
  • Australian food manufacturer: Cain is advising the manufacturer on labelling and claims compliance for new advertising and marketing programmes.

See Administrative and Public Law

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Cain acts for his clients in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Federal Magistrates Court, the Federal Court and the High Court. His specialty is administrative law litigation and in particular judicial review.

  • Commonwealth Agency: Cain is advising and acting for the agency in judicial review proceedings involving a complex legislative scheme.
  • Commonwealth Agency: Cain successfully defended the agency's decision-making processes in the Federal Court.
  • Commonwealth Agency: Cain successfully acted for the agency in a high-value matter in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which involved several expert witnesses and a large amount of documentary evidence.

See Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Government Services

FOI and privacy

Cain advises clients on all aspects of information law. His experience includes acting for agencies in FOI matters before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, preparing privacy impact assessments and advising on the interpretation and application of secrecy provisions.

  • Government corporation: Cain drafts FOI internal review decisions.
  • Government Agency: Cain prepared a privacy impact assessment for a major new policy initiative in such a way that it could assist and facilitate in the delivery of the project (by providing options and practical recommendations).
  • Government Agency: Cain provides ongoing, ad-hoc advice on privacy and secrecy for the agency.

See Government Services

Digital Economy

National Disability Insurance Agency: Cain has led the Clayton Utz team in preparing privacy impact assessments and privacy assurance advices for the Agency.  In 2020 and 2021, the privacy impact assessments have considered progressive stages of the Agency's update to its outgoing ICT infrastructure.  Cain has advised on privacy issues arising from projects relating to the Agency's new customer relationship management systems, desktop environments, employee, provider and NDIS participant access to Agency information through secure online portals and the introduction of new security and performance monitoring systems.  Cain and his team have advised on the privacy risks and impacts associated with high volume data transfers, cloud based desktop and information systems, data replication, access to personal information from multiple endpoints (including through secure gateways and mobile applications), with practical recommendations for how the Agency can maximise the privacy positivity of each particular project.  In addition to preparing privacy impact assessments and privacy assurance advices, Cain and his team have also assisted the Agency to prepare collection notices, privacy statements and terms of use.

Australian Electoral Commission: Cain advised the Australian Electoral Commission on the privacy aspects of a new online platform that would allow political parties to register under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.  The platform will modernise Australian elections by replacing the current manual, paper-based process.  Cain assessed the platform, and the technology underpinning it, against the Australian Privacy Principles set out in the Privacy Act 1988 and drafted a Privacy Impact Assessment that, among other things, considered the handling of sensitive information about a person's political opinions and associations, including where that information had been collected from a third party.

Australian Digital Health Agency: Cain prepared a Privacy Impact Assessment for the Australian Digital Health Agency in relation to the My Health Record mobile applications project.  The project gave mobile application developers access to the My Health Record system to enable the operation of mobile applications that would give consumers access to their My Health Record.  We advised on the various collections, uses and disclosures of personal information, including healthcare identifiers, and the project's interaction with myGov, mobile application developers and an application programming interface (API).

NDIS: Cain prepared a PIA for the NDIS quality and safeguarding project.  The project involves collection of sensitive personal information regarding complaints about service providers under the NDIS program.  The project involves various collections, uses and disclosures of personal information and the creation of a large IT system to manage the workflow for the proposed NDIS regulator.

Services Australia (formerly: Department of Human Services): Cain was the privacy advisor to DHS for the Welfare Payments Infrastructure Transformation program. WPIT is a $1 billion program to completely redesign the IT infrastructure used to deliver welfare services in Australia. Cain's role includes proactively managing potential privacy issues including developing a privacy management strategy and community engagement strategy.

Services Australia (formerly: Department of Human Services): Cain has prepared several PIAs for DHS for important projects, including the Child Support Express Plus App, Document Verification Scheme, and the abridged ID projects. Cain also assisted on a range of projects related to service delivery changed necessitated by Covid-19.  His experience includes a suite of reforms to improve customer experience as well as ensuring projects are as privacy positive as possible.

Knowledge

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