FOI in the Balance:The Function and Role of the Public Interest

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This article focusses on the key mechanism that is used to consider competing factors favouring disclosure or withholding of specific documents in the context of freedom of information legislation – the public interest test. It argues that the presence of a public interest test in the UK FOI Act makes a fundamental difference to its robustness but that there are aspects of both the drafting and the implementation of the public interest test in the UK Act that operate to limit its effectiveness. It compares the public interest test in the UK Act with that provided for in the Australian FOI Act and suggests that there are valuable lessons to be learned from developments in Australia where the concept of the public interest has been refined in the context of the new wave of 2nd generation FOI laws.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81
Number of pages98
JournalPublic Law: the Constitutional and Administrative Law of the Commonwealth
Issue numberJanuary
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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