ASIC v Dawson: no access to Multiplex whistleblower documents

In ASIC v P Dawson Nominees Pty Limited [2008] FCAFC 123 the Full Federal Court upheld ASIC’s objection to produce
certain documents in relation to Multiplex Limited on the grounds of
public interest immunity, namely that it would reveal the identity of informers.

The Court decided that in the circumstances of this case, the documents in
question did not have sufficient importance for the
litigation to outweigh the importance of not disclosing the identity of

ASIC settled an action relating to continuous disclosure breaches by Multiplex in December 2006.

ASIC argued that when people come forward
to report matters to ASIC in confidence, their confidence should be
respected where that is in the public interest.

The decision varies from In Cadbury Schweppes Pty Ltd (ACN 004 551 473) v Amcor Limited (ACN 000 017 372)[2008] FCA

in which the Federal Court rejected the ACCC’s claim for legal
professional privilege and public interest immunity privilege in
relation to 111 witness statements drafted by ACCC investigators in
with the ACCC proceedings against Visy .

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