An agency is permitted to refuse to deal with your application (or part of your application) if you apply for access to documents you have previously applied for under the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) or the Information Privacy Act 2009 (IP Act).
There are some limited exceptions to this ground of refusal.
If you make an application (the first application) and then make another application (the later application) while the first application is being considered the agency can refuse to deal with the later application to the extent it covers the same documents as the first application.1
You apply for all documents about your residential property created between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2010. While the agency is deciding your first application you make a later application to the same agency for all documents about your residential property created between 1 June 2010 and 1 December 2010.
The agency can refuse to deal with the part of your later application that covers documents created between 1 June 2010 and 30 June 2010 because you already applied for those and they haven’t made a decision on providing access to them. The rest of your later application would be processed.
If you apply for access to documents and the agency makes a decision you are not happy with you are generally entitled to seek a review of the decision. You have rights of internal review—carried out by the agency—and rights of external review—carried out by the Office of the Information Commissioner. The agency is permitted to refuse to deal with an application to the extent any of the documents are still being considered on internal review by the agency in relation to a previous application you have made to the agency.2
The agency can also refuse to deal with part of your later application if any of the documents were previously, or are currently being, considered as part of:
If you make another application to the same agency when your first application is or was the subject of either review process listed above the agency can refuse to deal with that part of your later application. They will process the part of your later application that applies for access to any other documents.
The agency is allowed to refuse to deal with your application, or parts of your application, if you have previously applied for the same documents under the RTI Act or the IP Act and as a result of that application the agency:
There are some situations when the agency cannot refuse to deal with your later application. The exceptions include where:
If the agency decides there is a ‘reasonable basis’ for you to again request access to the same documents they may decide to deal with your application.
There is no standard list of reasons or situations which would result in a reasonable basis for reapplying for documents. It will be decided by the agency on a case by case basis.
If you believe you have a reasonable basis to apply for documents again then you should explain this in your application.
Some examples where there could be a reasonable basis for reapplying include:
If the agency refuses to deal with your application, either in full or in part, then you can apply for an internal and/or external review within 20 business days of the date of the written decision. See the Guideline Explaining your review rights – a guide for applicants for more information about the review processes.
Current as at: October 8, 2015