The Australian Information Commissioner (Information Commissioner) can declare a person to be a vexatious applicant under s 89K(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) following repeated FOI access actions involving an abuse of process, or in a limited range of other circumstances specified by the FOI Act. An ‘abuse of process’ includes but is not limited to:
- harassing or intimidating an individual or agency staff
- unreasonably interfering with an agency’s operations
- using the FOI Act to circumvent access restrictions imposed by a court.
The Information Commissioner does not make vexatious applicant declarations lightly. An agency or minister who applies for a vexatious applicant declaration must prove that the declaration should be made. The individual concerned will have the opportunity to make written or oral submissions in response to an application to declare them a vexatious applicant.
Further information about vexatious applicant declarations can be found in Part 12 of the FOI Guidelines.
These declarations are also published on the AustLII website as part of the Australian Information Commissioner (AICmr) series.