RHI and Department of Justice and Attorney-General
(210515, 8 September 2008)
Section 35B Fees and charges for access to documents not concerning personal affairs
Section 35C Waiver of fees and charges
The applicant, who was a justice of the peace (qualified), sought review of a decision of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (Department) to charge an application fee in relation to his freedom of information application. In that application, the applicant had sought access to all documents in the possession of the Department which related to, or referred to, the applicant. The Department had decided that an application fee was payable, on the basis that at least one of the documents relevant to the application did not concern the applicant’s personal affairs.
Having examined the four folios which the Department had decided did not concern the applicant’s personal affairs, and considered the provisions of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners for Declarations Act 1991, Assistant Commissioner Corby decided that as the role of a justice of the peace is a public office, information relating to activities that a person undertakes (ie. their conduct) in that capacity, or in which a person represents themselves as acting in the capacity as, a justice of the peace, was not information which concerns that person’s personal affairs. Accordingly, and consistent with previous decisions of this Office, because at least one of the documents relevant to the applicant’s freedom of information application did not concern the applicant’s personal affairs, an application fee was payable. Assistant Commissioner Corby also decided that pursuant to section 35C(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1992, the application fee could not be waived.