17 November 2005

The Official Information Act 1982 - A window on Government or Curtains Drawn?

Our Faculty's Fellow in Law and Journalism, and a good friend of mine, Steven Price has completed a fascinating empirical study of the Official Information Act 1982. The New Zealand Centre for Public Law has recently published his paper as an occasional paper, following his recent public lecture. Compulsory reading for requesters and official alike! Steven Price, The Official Information Act 1982 - A window on Government or Curtains Drawn? (NZCPL Occasional Paper No 17, November 2005)

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Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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