Kennedy v The Charity Commission: A New Zealand Perspective

29 Jun 2014

In March 2014 a majority of the Supreme Court recognised a common law disclosure obligation applying to public authorities in Kennedy v The Charity Commission [2014] UKSC 20, [2014] EMLR 19.  A full discussion of this judgment can be found in 5RB’s case note.

In this article, Tim Cochrane, a Pegasus Scholar from New Zealand visiting at 5RB, discusses Kennedy from a New Zealand perspective by considering whether a similar “common law approach” (adopting the language of Lord Toulson at [140]) is likely to be recognised in his jurisdiction. This article first outlines Kennedy. It then explains why this common law approach should be recognised in New Zealand. Finally, it evaluates the extent to which this approach will be available, given the broad ambit of New Zealand’s freedom of information legislation (compared with the UK’s). This task is valuable not only for New Zealand but also the UK as this discussion can assist practitioners to understand the ambit of this important common law obligation going forward.