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Queensland Law Reform Commission: Public Justice, Private Lives: A Companion to the Confidentiality Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2007
74 pages
Intended for members of the Queensland public who are not legal experts, this paper is a guide to the longer two-volume report by the Queensland Law Reform Commission entitled, "Public Justice, Private Lives: A New Approach to Confidentiality in the Guardianship System."
An overview of current confidentiality provisions of Queensland guardianship laws notes that these laws allow the tribunal to make "confidentiality orders" in some cases. These orders are not commonly made, but are important because of their potential impact on the people involved. These confidentiality orders can prevent specified people from attending a hearing or part of a hearing, from seeing a document being considered by the tribunal, or from knowing the tribunal's decision or the reasoning upon which a decision is based. Confidentiality provisions also prevent the publication of information about what happens before the tribunal. The Commission's consultation found that people strongly support greater openness in the guardianship system, and the Commission agreed that the system currently leans too much toward confidentiality. In its recommendations for law reform, the Commission strives for a balance between the principle of open justice, the requirements of procedural fairness, and the need for confidentiality/privacy for the parties involved. The Commission believes greater openness will increase public confidence in guardianship proceedings by bringing more accountability and transparency to guardianship decisionmaking processes. More openness will also provide better outcomes for impaired adults put at risk by the failure to disclose information. Greater openness contributes to better decisionmaking, because it promotes more complete and accurate information. This paper presents the Commission's recommendations for improving guardianship by providing a better balance between openness and confidentiality, which includes having more exceptions to confidentiality provisions. Appended overview of guardianship and a glossary


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