Freedom of Information

Our Freedom of Information (FOI) team has helped many public sector organisations comply with FOI obligations in a practical manner. We understand the legal requirements imposed on agencies under the Freedom of Information legislation and, just as importantly, understand the balance between transparency and accountability of open government, and the need to protect sensitive information from disclosure in the greater public interest.

We have assisted many agencies with the consideration and processing of FOI requests, the exemption from release of documents and the preparation of FOI decisions and reasons.

Minter Ellison has a strong track record and extensive experience in providing practical and strategic advice to government agencies in relation to the management of requests under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth). We understand the challenges for agencies in facilitating transparency and accountability of open government, while protecting sensitive information from disclosure where appropriate. We advise on the application of exemptions and drafting of decisions, respond to OAIC review processes and act in AAT appeals.

We have advised senior departmental officers and Ministers on FOI processes. We also provide FOI training and have developed a suite of training materials for government agencies. We have drafted FOI guidelines and template letters for the processing of FOI requests.

In addition to FOI, we regularly advise agencies responding to other requests for access to information such as parliamentary inquiries and subpoenas, the interaction between access and disclosure obligations with privacy, confidentiality and secrecy.

16 January 2013

On 31 December 2012, the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), a foreign-related arbitration commission set up by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (also known as the China Chamber of International Commerce) (CCPIT), released its Announcement on Issues Concerning CIETAC Shanghai Sub-Commission and CIETAC South China Sub-Commission" (the Latest Announcement). This is the latest development in a dispute, which has been on foot since April 2012, between CIETAC, the Shanghai Sub-Commission of CIETAC (CIETAC Shanghai), and the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA) (the CIETAC Dispute). SCIA was known as the South China Sub-Commission of CIETAC before 22 October 2012.

17 August 2011

Recent freedom of information (FOI) reforms were designed to encourage a pro-disclosure culture, and provide additional assistance and guidance to both the applicant and agencies in processing FOI requests. But since the commencement of those reforms, maintaining the balance between the philosophy and the practical operation of the FOI Act has presented challenges for agencies in meeting their statutory FOI obligations.