Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Lawyers


Freedom of Information Conference 2011

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  1.5 CPD Units

4.5 CPD Units


The FOI Conference will concentrate on FOI requests made under the Victorian Freedom of Information Act 1982.  It will look at recent developments in FOI, access to health records, what constitutes a valid FOI request, statutory exemptions and available appeal avenues in Victoria.  It also includes workshops on processing an FOI request and working out FOI exemptions. 

Morning Chair: Mark Hayes, Partner, Maddocks

Afternoon Chair: John Livi, Special Counsel, Minter Ellison


 Session 1: FOI recent developments                                                                           

  • Recent significant FOI cases and lessons to be learnt, including McNamara v Deakin Uni (General) [2011] VCAT and Arundell v Department of Justice (General) [2011] VCAT
  • The impact of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights on FOI applications
  • Other significant developments in the area of FOI

 Presenter: Melanie Olynyk, Partner, Maddocks


Session 2: Processing an FOI request                                                                         

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

Presenter: Robyn Cooke, Senior Advisor - Privacy & Admin Law, Department of Human Services

Session 3: Processing a request workshop                                                                

Participants workshop a personal and non-personal FOI request in a case study covering issues such as:

  • ‘Voluminous’ and ‘unclear’ applications
  • Agency obligations to the applicant to consult, inform etc
  • Statutory timeframes and when they are extended and restarted


Elsie Loh, Senior Solicitor, Victorian Government Solicitor's Office

Joanne Kummrow, Managing Principal Solicitor, Victorian Government Solicitor's Office


Session 4: Confidentiality of health records and FOI                                                

This session will deal with:

  •  What health information is an individual entitled to receive? Who else may seek access?
  • How are health records able to be accessed under the Health Records Act 2011 (Vic) and FOI Act 1982 (Vic)?
  • Relationship between the Health Records Act 2011 (Vic) and FOI Act 1982 (Vic)
  • Health Privacy Principles
  • Practical issues to be aware of

Presenter: Elizabeth Kennedy, Corporate Counsel, Epworth HealthCare


Session 5: “Non-personal” application exemptions – an overview               

  • This session will overview ‘non-personal’ application exemptions, including:
  • Cabinet documents
  • Internal working documents
  • Privileged documents
  • Trade secrets and business information
  • Public interest override

Presenter: Daniel Perkins, Senior Solicitor, Victorian Government Solicitor's Office


Session 6: “Personal” application exemptions – an overview                                 

This session will overview ‘personal’ application exemptions, including:

  • Personal affairs
  • Notification
  • Serious health risk
  • Communications in confidence

Presenter: Peter Caillard, Barrister, Victorian Bar

Session 7: Exemptions workshop                                                                                

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.


Rachel Ellyard, Barrister, Victorian Bar

Louise Martin, Barrister, Victorian Bar


Session 8: Review process                                                                                           

Issues relating to the review of FOI decisions including:

  • Internal review  - consultation/notification requirements
  • VCAT Review
  • Judicial Review
  • Role of the Ombudsman

Presenter: Brendan Murray, Special Counsel, Minter Ellison Lawyers


Session 9: Mock VCAT hearing                                                                                    

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

Presiding Member: His Honour Judge Misso, County Court of Victoria

Counsel for the applicant: Catherine Symons, Barrister, Victorian Bar

Counsel for the respondent: Richard Attiwill, Barrister, Victorian Bar

Designed for: Legal practitioners, FOI Officers, Managers
Time: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Catering: Includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea
Total CPD Units: 6
Venue: Leo Cussen Centre for Law, 360 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
Code:  C11010

Full Price (C11010) $520.00 (inc. GST)

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

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