McColl and Public Trust Office
McColl and Public Trustee of Queensland
(2002 S0139, 7 January 2003)
The applicant sought access to the will of her late aunt in order to discover the identity of the beneficiary of her aunt's estate.
Assistant Commissioner Moss applied the principles stated in Stewart and Department of Transport (1993) 1 QAR 227 in finding that the will concerned the personal affairs of the testatrix. Following a concession made by the respondent, it was possible to inform the applicant that the beneficiary was a charity and not a natural person. However, the applicant submitted that she needed to know the precise identity of the beneficiary under the will in order to ascertain whether or not she had a legal entitlement to part of the estate.
AC Moss recognised that, in an appropriate case, there may be a public interest in an individual being permitted to gain access to information which would assist the person to pursue a legal remedy: see Willsford and Brisbane City Council (1996) 3 QAR 368. However, the applicant was unable to point to any basis for challenging the will, and AC Moss decided that the will was exempt from disclosure under s.44(1) of the FOI Act, there being no basis for a finding that disclosure of the will to the applicant would, on balance, be in the public interest.