Request information using subpoenas and other court orders

Find out how to request information from us using subpoenas or similar court orders. We refer to both of these as court orders.

What information we can provide

Secrecy laws protect the information we hold about customers. This means we may not release all information in response to a court order.

We routinely provide the following Medicare information:

  • Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) summaries
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) summaries
  • Notices of Past Benefits (NoPB).

You may also request other information that’s relevant to your case. If your request is for information we don’t routinely provide, please email the Subpoena team. Include details of the information you want and we’ll discuss your proposed court order with you.

Examples of other information we can provide are:

  • medical service provider reports
  • employment records for current or former department employees.

Not for release

We don’t release information in response to a court order for both:

  • Centrelink
  • Child Support.

Secrecy laws

We’ll comply with your request unless secrecy laws protect the information. Read the key secrecy laws.

Medicare:

Centrelink:

Child Support:

What to include in court orders

When you file the proposed order with the court, you need to enter our address on the order. The correct address to use is:

The Proper Officer
Subpoena Team
Department of Human Services
18 Canberra Avenue
Forrest ACT 2603

Court orders should include all relevant details of the person whose records you’re requesting. This includes:

  • their name and any known aliases
  • their date of birth
  • their Medicare number or address, if known.

Please specify which documents you need, including a date range. Don’t ask for all documents or all records. This will delay your request because we’ll need to contact you to get the exact date range. We also suggest you state whether you need any of the following:

  • Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) summaries
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) summaries
  • Notices of Past Benefits (NoPB).

How to serve court orders

Once you have the court order, serve it by email to the Subpoena team.

We charge $70 to process a court order. It covers our costs to access, collate and produce the requested documents to the court or tribunal.

There may be extra charges depending on how complex the court order is.

When we request payment, we’ll give you a reference number which you’ll need to make the payment through Government EasyPay. If you can’t use EasyPay, email the Subpoena team to discuss other ways to pay.

You can also email the Subpoena team if you’ve made an incorrect payment we should refund.

What happens after the subpoena is served

We may contact you or your lawyer to discuss the documents requested and the legal purpose for them. We may ask you for background information about the proceedings and why the documents are relevant to them.

When we’re able to comply with an order, we’ll send the documents to the issuing court or tribunal. We’ll only send them to you or your lawyer if we’re both:

  • ordered to by the court or tribunal
  • legally able to comply with such an order.

We may object to part or all of a court order. If we decide to do this, we’ll discuss our concerns with you or your lawyer first, if possible.

If we can’t comply with a court order, we’ll ask you to withdraw it. We’ll do this before the date we’re due to send the documents to the court.

Timeframes

If you request MBS data that’s:

  • less than 5 years old, it’ll take up to 2 weeks for us to comply
  • older than 5 years, it’ll take 6 to 8 weeks for us to comply.

For other orders that are unusual or complex, we may ask for an extension of time to comply.

What’s a Commonwealth Information Order

A Commonwealth Information Order (CIO) is a court order made under section 67N of the Family Law Act 1975. It requires us to give the court information about a child’s location.

If you’re seeking a CIO you must send a copy of the application by email to the Subpoena team.

Then, once the court has made the CIO, you must email a copy of the order to the Subpoena team.

We’ll search our records once every 3 months for the duration of the CIO. If the CIO requires us to search our records more often we’ll do so.

You don’t need to pay money for a CIO.

Page last updated: 31 July 2019