Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Lawyers


Freedom of Information Conference

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This FOI Conference will concentrate on FOI requests made under the Victorian Freedom of Information Act 1982. It will look at what constitutes a valid FOI request, statutory exemptions and available appeal avenues in Victoria. It will touch upon Privacy issues to be managed in relation to FOI as well as the confidentiality of health records. It will also briefly examine the recent changes to FOI in the Commonwealth sphere and its potential impact on Victoria.

Morning Chair: John Livi, Special Counsel, Minster Ellison Lawyers

Afternoon Chair: Ross Hodgens, Consultant, Russell Kennedy

Key Note Address: Australian Information Commissioner Substantive Law

An overview of the newly established Office of the Australian Information Commissioner which has been granted functions and powers in relation to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

Key Note Presenter:Professor John McMillan AO,Australian Information Commissioner 


Session 1: FOI Recent Developments Substantive Law

  • Recent significant FOI cases– lessons to be learnt
  • The impact of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights on FOI applications
  • Other significant developments in the area of FOI

Presenter: Rebecca French, General Counsel, Victorian Government Solicitor's Office


Session 2: Processing an FOI Request Workshop Substantive Law

Through the use of a case study this session will examine issues FOI decision makers must consider when processing a personal and non-personal FOI request including:

  • Valid requests
  • Voluminous and obviously exempt requests
  • Documents ordinarily available
  • Agency obligations to consult, inform
  • Statutory timeframes
  • Notice of decision

Presenters: Sonia Lourenco, Freedom of Information & Privacy Officer, Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development

Mehtap Stanfield, Manager, Freedom of Information & Privacy Unit, Department of Innovation, Industry & Regional Development


Session 3: Exemptions Workshop Substantive Law

Through the use of a case study this session will examine the issues to be considered by decision makers arising in an application seeking personal and non-personal documents. It will specifically focus on the possible exemptions including:

  • Cabinet documents
  • Internal working documents
  • Privileged documents
  • Trade secrets and business information
  • Public interest override
  • Personal affairs
  • Notification under
  • Serious health risk
  • Communications in confidence

Presenters:  Jim McKenna, Barrister, Victorian Bar
Rachel Ellyard, Barrister, Victorian Bar


Session 4: Privacy Update Substantive Law

  • The intersection between the Privacy Act 1988 and the FOI Act
  • Managing privacy compliance issues

Presenter: Simon Bailey, Partner, DLA Phillips Fox


Session 5: Confidentiality of health records Substantive Law

  • What health information is an individual entitled to receive? Who else may seek to access?
  • How are health records able to be accessed under the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) and FOI Act 1982 (Vic)?
  • Relationship between the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) and FOI Act 1982 (Vic)
  • Relationship between the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) and other legislation
  • Health Privacy Principles
  • Practical issues to be aware of

Presenter: Elizabeth Kennedy, Corporate Counsel, Epworth Health Care


Session 6:Review Process Substantive Law

Issues relating to the review of FOI decisions including:

  • Internal Review
  • Consultation/Notification Requirements
  • VCAT Review
  • Role of the Ombudsman

Presenter: Melanie Olynyk, Partner, Maddocks


Session 7: Mock VCAT hearing

An opportunity to observe Counsel argue an FOI application appeal before VCAT in a mock hearing.

Presiding Member: Her Honour Judge Hampel, Vice President, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

Counsel for the Applicant: Jeremy Whelen, Barrister, Victorian Bar
Counsel for the Respondent: Chris Young, Barrister, Victorian Bar

Designed for: Legal practitioners, FOI Officers, Managers
Presented by:

As listed above

Time: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Total CPD Units: CPD Units: 6
Venue: Level 1, 360 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Code:  C1031K

Full Price (C1031K) $475.00 (inc. GST)

Bookings for this event have closed 1 hour before the start time

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