Cacciola and Queensland Ombudsman
(2004 F0083, 20 December 2004)
Legal professional privilege
The applicant sought access to documents concerning a complaint he had made to the Ombudsman. The matter in issue comprised documents which the Department had provided to the Ombudsman's Office for the purpose of assisting in its assessment of that complaint.
Assistant Commissioner Barker found that the matter in issue either comprised confidential communications between the respondent and its solicitors made for the dominant purpose of obtaining or giving legal advice or professional legal assistance, or discussed professional legal advice provided to the Department by its solicitors. That matter would, of itself, attract legal professional privilege. AC Barker also found that the privilege attaching to the matter in issue had not been waived by, or on behalf of, the Department, as the matter in issue had been provided to the Ombudsman's Office on a confidential basis and for the limited purpose of enabling it to assess or investigate the applicant's complaint. AC Barker decided that the matter in issue was exempt under s.43(1) of the FOI Act.