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LAW7076 - Principles of privacy and freedom of information

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Associate Professor Moira Paterson


City (Melbourne) Trimester 1 2008 (On-campus split block of classes)


The subject provides a comprehensive and critical examination of current issues relating to laws which affect public information in the possession of, or generated by, the federal and Victorian governments (including statutory authorities and municipalities). Topics covered include statutory requirements to provide reasons for decisions, public access to hearings and meetings, freedom of information, breach of confidence, public interest immunity, legal professional privilege, Crown copyright, statutory secrecy provisions and privacy.


On completion of this subject students should

  1. understand the close interrelationship of the diverse laws which regulate or affect public access to government information;
  2. have acquired a comprehensive and up-do-date knowledge of the Commonwealth and Victorian Freedom of Information Acts, of the statutory provisions which require provision of written reasons and of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth);
  3. have extended their basic understanding and knowledge of the legal principles and rules relating to evidentiary privilege and breach of confidence;
  4. be able to critically analyse from a variety of theoretical perspectives the ways in which these various laws balance competing public and private interests involved;
  5. demonstrate a capacity to conduct systematic research on some specific topic of Government and information law; and
  6. have an appreciation of contemporary issues of relevance to this area of law.


Research assignment (5,250 words): 70%: Take-Home Examination (2,250 words): 30%

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