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Suppressing evidence of financial results

30/03/2011

Justice should be visible and public.  Trials should be open to the public so they can witness the application of the rule of law.  Disputes should be heard in camera only in special cases, for example; where  sensitive personal or valuable commercial information is likely to be seriously compromised by publication.

In a recent case, the ACCC sought declarations, injunctions, corrective advertising, a compliance programme and civil penalties for alleged breaches of the Trade Practices Act 1974. An agreed statements of facts included the financial performance of the several respondents.   The uncontroverted evidence was that publication of that information could influence the credit limits and terms available from suppliers and equip competitors with knowledge about the respondents’ capacity to engage in a price war.  The Court accepted that it was not in the interests of the administration of justice to allow a disclosure which might seriously threaten the commercial value of the respondents’ business. Suppression orders were made under section 50 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976.

Read the orders made in ACCC v MSY Technology Pty Ltd & ors.

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