Price and Department of Justice and Attorney-General

Application number:
1999 S0029
Decision date:
Thursday, Nov 25, 1999

Price and Department of Justice and Attorney-General
(1999 S0029, 25 November 1999) 

This application involved the Inquiry Legal Representation Office (ILRO) which was established with the respondent to assist citizens to make submissions to the Connolly/Ryan Commission of Inquiry (which was established to examine and investigate certain activities of the Criminal Justice Commission).  Citizens wishing to make submissions to the Commission of Inquiry could apply to ILRO for funding, which, if granted, enabled the citizens to engage private solicitors to assist them in preparing their submissions.  The applicant applied for, and received, such funding, and engaged Baker Johnson, solicitors, to represent him in making his submissions. 

The issue for determination in this review was whether documents in the possession of Baker Johnson in connection with their representation of the applicant before the Connolly/Ryan Inquiry were 'documents of an agency' (i.e., the respondent) as defined by s.7 of the FOI Act.  The Information Commissioner found that any documents held by Baker Johnson pursuant to the solicitor/client relationship which existed between it and the applicant, were not documents which were under the control of the respondent or to which the respondent was entitled to access.  The Information Commissioner therefore found that the Baker Johnson documents were not documents of an agency, and that they were not subject to the application of the FOI Act.