School of Advanced Study, University of London
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Thinking spaces; the exclusion of deliberative matter from FOI disclosure
Dr Judith Bannister
(University of Adelaide, Australia; IALS Visiting Fellow)
A question that poses a significant challenge to freedom of information is: to what extent should the policy deliberations and decision-making processes of government be disclosed? In a recent review of the Federal freedom of information system in Australia it was argued that there is no clear indication of what harm is likely to arise from the disclosure of deliberative material (Allan Hawke, Review of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010, 2013, p. 48.1).
Governments argue the need to protect 'thinking spaces' and 'safe spaces'
Dr Bannister is undertaking a comparative study of freedom of information in Australia and the United Kingdom using 'meta requests' (foi requests about foi requests) to research the use of exemptions that protect the formulation of government policy and deliberative processes. She will ask: is confidentiality necessary for collective decision-making in government?
Dr Judith Bannister is a Senior Lecturer at Adelaide University Law School in South Australia. She teaches and researches in Administrative Law and Intellectual Property. She has combined qualifications in law and librarianship to develop her research in the field of regulation of information access: her work integrates freedom of information, copyright and confidential information. Judith has a PhD from the Australian National University in the field of information law.
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