Deputy President Judge Hampel in Friends concluded:
67....it is in my view, of great importance that the independence and quality of advice provided to Ministers or other ultimate decision-makers by departmental officers in the discharge of their obligations or the functioning of the agency is not compromised. Public servants must feel free to give robust and independent advice to Ministers and other decision-makers, to test and challenge assumptions, to canvass options, and to consider all possibilities. This freedom is of fundamental importance that the integrity or effectiveness of the decision-making process. It is essential that frank and fearless advice and expression of opinion be provided to Ministers and other decision-makers, so they are fully informed before they discharge their responsibility to make a decision. In my view, none of the matters raised by the applicant in support of its submission there is a public interest in favour of disclosure in respect of the release of draft and working documents, which form part of the deliberative process outweighs the public interest in this case in protecting the independence and quality of advice provided to decision makers by departmental officers (sic).