Mr G and Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date13 December 2021
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the CCPC's decision to refuse to release the records at issue under section 31(1)(a) of the FOI Act.
RespondentCompetition and Consumer Protection Commission
Record NumberOIC-114482-G8Y4V8
Whether the CCPC was justified in refusing access, under section 31(1)(a) of the FOI Act, to certain records, in whole or in part, relating to a complaint the applicant made to the CCPC, on the ground that the records attract legal advice privilege

13 December 2021

Background

In a request dated 25 August 2021, the applicant sought access to all records related to a formal complaint he had made to the CCPC. The CCPC clarified the date of the complaint with the applicant, and he also confirmed that correspondence between him and a named staff member of the CCPC could be omitted from the scope of the request. In a decision dated 10 September 2021, the request was part-granted. Ten records were identified as relevant to the request and listed in a Schedule. Six records were released to the applicant with some information redacted under section 37(1) of the FOI Act (personal information of third parties), access to three records was refused under section 31(1)(a) of the Act (legal professional privilege), and one record was released in part with information redacted under sections 31(1)(a) and 37(1).

The applicant sought an internal review of that decision on 10 September 2021 on the ground that the claim of legal privilege was not sustainable. The CCPC affirmed its decision on 30 September 2021. On 15 October 2021, the applicant sought a review by this Office of the CCPC’s decision to refuse access to records 5, 7 and 9 and to redact part of record 8 under section 31(1)(a).

I have now completed my review in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act. In carrying out my review, I have had regard to the submissions made by the applicant and by the CCPC, and to the contents of the records concerned. I have decided to conclude this review by way of a formal, binding decision.

Scope of Review

This review is concerned solely with whether the CCPC was justified in refusing access to records 5, 7 and 9, and in redacting certain information from record 8, under section 31(1)(a) of the FOI Act.

Preliminary Matters

In a submission to this Office, the applicant explained the background of his complaint to the CCPC. He raised concerns that it is not implementing changes he sees as necessary as a result of a decision in the European Court of Justice, in a case regarding the rights of a consumer who returned a mattress purchased online after he had removed the protective seal from it (Case C-681/17).

It is important to note as a preliminary matter that section 13(4) of...

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