New Zealand Law Society - Charge for international student misconduct information reasonable

Charge for international student misconduct information reasonable

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Fixing a charge to supply information sought under the Official Information Act 1982 about academic misconduct by international students was reasonable, Ombudsman Leo Donnelly has concluded.

The Office of the Ombudsman has released a case note on a complaint about Victoria University of Wellington's decision to charge for supply of the information.

The University provided the requester with some information - the total number of students who were investigated and penalised or disciplined for academic misconduct in each of the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. However, it refused to provide information showing how many were international students.

The University relied on section 18(f) of the OIA - that the information could not be made available without substantial collation or research.

The Ombudsman agreed that the OIA does not require agencies to create information in response to a request.

Rather, it requires agencies to provide (or withhold under any applicable withholding provisions) information held by them that already exists.

He did not accept the University's submission that the cross-checking of information across two databases amounted to the creation of information.

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