The art of the apology
One of our functions under the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) is to provide a mediation service for privacy complaints.
In our experience, an apology is often one of the main outcomes sought by a complainant and can greatly assist in restoring a relationship, which is of particular benefit to both complainants and agencies where there will be ongoing interactions between them.
In many cases, an appropriate apology has been the critical factor between a complaint being successfully resolved through mediation and a complaint that moves onto the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
It is a common misconception that if an apology is provided, it constitutes an admission of liability and/or which can then be used in legal proceedings. This is not correct, as section 72D of the Civil Liability Act 2003 (Qld) explicitly states that an apology does not constitute an express or implied admission of fault or liability, and is not relevant to the determination of fault or liability in relation to the matter.
So what makes an appropriate apology? Our new case note focuses on how an apology helped to successfully resolve a recent complaint.