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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

NSW ADT awards highest damages to date for breach of privacy

The NSW ADT in JD v NSW Medical Board(No.2) (2006) NSWADT 345 has awarded $7500 in damages to an applicant, following a finding of a breach of privacy. While this fell far short of applicant's claim for damages (in excess of $100,000, an amount that would have exceeded the $40,000 ADT limit) it's the highest award since the introduction of the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act in 2000.

The Tribunal in an earlier finding, ruled that the disclosure of information in a psychiatric report about the medical practitioner had been forwarded by the Board to the Pharmaceutical Services Branch of the NSW Department of Health, in breach of the disclosure principles in Sections 18 and 19 of the Act.

In this case the Tribunal accepted that the practitioner had suffered financial loss and psychological harm as a result of the disclosure.

Other cases involving award of damages by the ADT include RD v Department of Education and Training (2005) NSWADT 195, where the Tribunal awarded damages of $2000 for a breach of privacy that occurred when the Department sent health information about the applicant to a wrong address.

In two other cases in which the Tribunal found it lacked jurisdiction, it said that it would have awarded $40,000 for a breach involving disclosure of letters about a neighbour sent to the mayor of a local council (NV v Randwick City Council (2005) NSWADT 45) and $15,000 to an applicant who an agency employee described as a "well known trouble maker" to a radio program producer (GR v Department of Housing (No.2) (2005) NSWADT51).

The JD v NSW Medical Board case is the 5th ADT case involving alleged breaches of privacy by the Board or the Department of Health arising from an investigation of a complaint about the medical practitioner and the self administering of drugs.

Wheels and justice move slowly - JD's original complaint about a breach of privacy was made in April 2003.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:37 am

    I have already won both my two other matters against NSW Health (Breach of Privacy act). 15/2/07