Relevant decisions from other jurisdictions

Chu v Telstra Corp Ltd [2005] FCA 1730

The Information Commissioner referred to this decision in PDE. This decision concerns the application of the equivalent Commonwealth provision. Relevantly, section 24A of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) provides 'an agency or Minister may refuse a request for access to a document if all reasonable steps have been taken to find the document and the agency or Minister is satisfied that the document is in the agency or Minister's possession but cannot be found, or does not exist'.

Here, the applicant appealed an AAT decision affirming the decision of Telstra to refuse the applicant access to his personal and personnel files. Finn J was satisfied that for an agency or Minister to be satisfied of the reasonableness of their searches, it is necessary for the agency or Minister to make an evaluative judgement based on the knowledge and experience of the agency. [11, 12]

Accordingly, that judgement of reasonableness is for the agency in question and, upon review, for the Tribunal and not ultimately for the Court. [14]

Last updated: March 5, 2012