Overview of section 41 RTI Act

Section summary

An agency or Minister may refuse to deal with an application if it considers that dealing with the application would substantially and unreasonably: 

  • divert the agency's resources from performing its functions; or 
  • interfere with the Minister performing his or her functions.


This provision is substantively the same as section 29(1)-(3) of the repealed FOI Act.

Other relevant RTI/IP Act sections

Section 42 RTI Act

Section 42 of the RTI Act sets out procedural requirements that must be met before an agency or Minister may refuse to deal with an application under section 41. The consultation process gives applicants an opportunity to refine their application so that it can be dealt with by the agency or Minister.

Section 18 RTI Act

If an applicant is given notice under section 42 of the RTI Act of the agency or Minister's intention to refuse to deal with the application under section 41, the prescribed consultation period does not count as part of the 'processing period' for an access application.  Effectively, the clock stops on the day the agency begins consultation and only restarts after the applicant and agency have agreed to proceed on an agreed scope.

Last updated: May 24, 2013