New guideline: Applicants who are pursuing a legal remedy

June 26, 2019 - 3:57pm

Under the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act), people apply to access documents for a variety of reasons, including, for example, to help them pursue a legal remedy. Accessing documents for this reason has a long history, dating back to Willsford and Brisbane City Council (Willsford) in 1996.

In Willsford, the applicant wanted to access Council documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1992 to assess whether she could take action for damages against the owner of a dog. Based on three criteria, the Information Commissioner found that it was in the public interest for her to be given access to the dog owner's details.

Seeking access to documents under the RTI Act to pursue a legal remedy raises the administration of justice factor favouring disclosure. If an access applicant can meet the three criteria set out in Willsford, the administration of justice factor may outweigh the public interest in protecting personal information of a third party.

Applying Willsford – Applicants Who Are Pursuing a Legal Remedy explains the application of Willsford and its criteria, along with other decisions that have applied it, and may assist decision makers who are processing applications of this type.

For more information please contact the Enquiries Service on 07 3234 7373 (option 1) or