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Friday, August 14, 2009

NSWLRC recommends privacy cause of action

The NSW Law Reform Commission in a report released today ( but dated April) recommends the state adopt a civil action for breach of privacy, but only as part of national law reform, so privacy law would be uniform throughout Australia. The report clarifies when an individual should be able to claim compensation and places limitations on the action.The Chairperson of the Commission, the Hon James Wood AO QC, said “the action is only applicable where an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy that is not overridden by public interests such as freedom of speech. We advocate a common sense approach, whereby privacy interests are weighted against other important concerns such as the public’s ‘right to know’ and the protection of national security”. Despite this watch out for media types jumping from tall buildings.

The proposal is for a cap for non-economic loss of $150000. More when I have a chance to absorb the detail (116 pages) of what looks to be a formidable, balanced argument for filling the gap in current law. Interestingly the Advisory Panel, members of which may or may not agree with all or parts of the report, included distinguished legal minds from Australia and abroad, and while he might be in that category as well, Sydney Morning Herald journalist David Marr.
Update: Marr's involvement appears to have given the SMH a "head's up" with this "Take a good look- this picture might soon be banned" and Marr's opinion piece detailing his ignored attempts to dissuade the NSWLRC from the recommendation, both in Saturday's Herald, while not a word in News Ltd papers. They won't be far behind.

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