ABC v Lenah Game Meats

Reference: [2001] HCA 63; (2001) 185 ALR 1

Court: High Court of Australia

Judge: Gleeson CJ, Gaudron, Gummow, Kirby, Hayne and Callinan JJ

Date of judgment: 15 Nov 2001

Summary: Confidence - privacy - interim injunction -Australian law

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The respondent sought an interlocutory injunction against the broadcasting of a film about its stunning and killing of bush tail possums ai its processing facility.


Whether film taken on private property of the respondent’s slaughtering methods was private and confidential.


An act is not private simply because it takes place on private property. Protection derives from a combination of the characteristics or the property, the nature of the activity, the locality and the disposition of the property owner. To the reasonable person certain information is easily identifiable as private, applying contemporary standards of behaviour and morality and intended to be unobserved. The disclosure or observation of information or conduct that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities is a useful practical test.


The test outlined by the Chief Justice actually originates in another part of the common law world, its components deriving from The Second Restatement of the Law of Torts (1977) and William L Prosser’s ‘Privacy’, (1960) 48 California Law Review 383. It was applied by Mann J in Tillery Valley Foods v Channel Four Television [2004] EWHC 1075 (Ch)