Case Note 201433 [2009] NZPrivCmr 4 : Government agency withholds complaints and legally privileged information from requester

A man asked a government agency for all of the information it held about him, particularly legally privileged documents and copies of complaints made about him and referred to in Court.The agency provided the man with a summary of the complaints, but withheld specific details of the complaints. It also withheld documents that it claimed were legally privileged. The man complained to us that the agency had wrongly withheld this information. Principle 6Principle 6 of the Privacy Act (the Act) states that where an agency holds personal information in such a way that it can readily be retrieved, the individual is entitled to have access to that information. This right is subject to the withholding grounds in sections 27-29 of the Act.Unwarranted disclosure of someone elses affairsThe agency relied on section 29(1)(a) to withhold copies of the complaints made about the man.

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