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Friday, April 27, 2007

Law Reform Commission on legal privilege

Legal professional (or client legal) privilege has proved to be one of the more common exemption claims under Australian Freedom of Information laws, and has featured in a lot of the reported decisions.

A current Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into privilege focuses primarily on the concept as it applies to Federal investigatory bodies but the Issues Paper recently released gives a comprehensive overview of the concept, and raises some important questions about the extent to which privilege should be abrogated and in what circumstances.

The inquiry was prompted by issues raised in the AWB and HIH Royal Commissions where there were attempts to claim privilege in order to frustrate investigations.

Some of the discussion of privilege in the Issues Paper will be grist for the mill in consideration of the privilege exemption in the FOI context.

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