Thompson and Queensland Law Society Inc.
(1996 S0108, 28 February 1997)
The applicant sought access to certain documents relating to an investigation undertaken by the Professional Standards Department of the respondent. Applying the principles set out in Smith and Administrative Services Department (1993) 1 QAR 22, the Information Commissioner determined that all but one of the documents was exempt under s.43(1) - the legal professional privilege exemption. The Information Commissioner rejected a claim by the applicant that the documents were not exempt because the solicitor giving the advice was a member of the respondent and could not therefore have the appropriate independent professional relationship with the respondent.
The Information Commissioner rejected a claim by the respondent that the other document in issue was exempt matter under s.41(1). The submission of the respondent was tantamount to a 'class claim' for exemption on public interest grounds of any material arising out of investigations conducted by it into allegations of malpractice, professional misconduct or unprofessional conduct because of the inherent sensitivity of the material. The Information Commissioner indicated that that was not an acceptable approach to the application of s.41(1), and that the apprehended consequences of disclosure of the particular matter in issue must be evaluated in each case.