Commonwealth Consolidated Acts

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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 1982 - SECT 55

Procedure in IC review--general

             (1)  The Information Commissioner may, for the purposes of an IC review, review an IC reviewable decision by considering the documents or other material lodged with or provided to the Information Commissioner, and without holding a hearing, if:

                     (a)  it appears to the Information Commissioner that the issues for determination on the IC review can be adequately determined in the absence of the review parties; and

                     (b)  the Information Commissioner is satisfied that there are no unusual circumstances that would warrant the Information Commissioner holding a hearing; and

                     (c)  none of the review parties have applied for a hearing under section 55B.

             (2)  The Information Commissioner may otherwise:

                     (a)  conduct an IC review in whatever way he or she considers appropriate; and

                     (b)  use any technique that the Information Commissioner considers appropriate to facilitate an agreed resolution of matters at issue in the IC review (for example by using techniques that are used in alternative dispute resolution processes); and

                     (c)  allow a person to participate in an IC review by any means of communication; and

                     (d)  obtain any information from any person, and make any inquiries, that he or she considers appropriate; and

                     (e)  give written directions as to the procedure to be followed in relation to:

                              (i)  IC reviews generally; or

                             (ii)  a particular IC review.

Example 1: The Information Commissioner may allow a person under paragraph (2)(c) to participate in a hearing by telephone.

Example 2: The Information Commissioner may give written directions under subparagraph (2)(e)(ii) as to the procedure to be followed when dealing with confidential documents in a particular IC review.

             (3)  A direction given under paragraph (2)(e) is not a legislative instrument.

             (4)  Without limiting subsection (2), the Information Commissioner must, in relation to an IC review:

                     (a)  conduct the IC review with as little formality and as little technicality as is possible given:

                              (i)  the requirements of this Act; and

                             (ii)  the requirements of any other law; and

                            (iii)  a proper consideration of the matters before the Information Commissioner; and

                     (b)  ensure that each review party is given a reasonable opportunity to present his or her case; and

                     (c)  conduct the IC review in as timely a manner as is possible given the matters mentioned in subparagraphs (a)(i) to (iii).

             (5)  If the Information Commissioner holds a hearing, the Information Commissioner:

                     (a)  must hold the hearing in public, unless the Information Commissioner is satisfied that it is not desirable to do so:

                              (i)  because of the confidential nature of any evidence or matter relating to the proceeding; or

                             (ii)  for any other reason; and

                     (b)  is not bound by the rules of evidence; and

                     (c)  may hold a part of the hearing in the absence of a review party (or a review party's representative) if it is necessary to do so to prevent disclosure to the review party (or the review party's representative) of any evidence or matter relating to the proceeding that is of a confidential nature.



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