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Report No. 88

10.22. Legislative reaction in Australia.-

This is the first development in Australia on the judicial side. But this is countered by the second noteworthy development in Australia, being a legislative reaction to the above decision in Sankey v. Whitlam. An example of this is the Evidence Amendment Act, 1982 passed for the Australian Northern Territory. This Act allows the Attorney-General to make a claim of privilege, if he considers that in the public interest certain documents or communications should not be released. If such a claim is made the court cannot admit those documents or communications in evidence. The Act covers relates to documents involving Ministers, Cabinet or the Executive Council, and communications between Federal and State Ministers. The above legislation was vehemently criticised by the opposition, in the course of discussion of the Bill in the legislature1.

1. Evidence Amendment Act, 1982 for the Australian Northern Territory. See (July 1982) 8 Commonwealth Legal Bulletin 890.

10.23. Incidentally, it may be of interest to mention that the Australian judgment in Sankey v. Whitlam has been cited in a decision of the House of Lords,1 apparently expressing agreement with its broad approach.

1. Burrnah Oil v. Bank of England, (1979) 3 WLR 722 (760) (Lord Scarman).

Governmental Privilege in Evidence - Sections 123, 124 and 162 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and Articles 74 and 163 of the Constitution Back

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