Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  177 / 192 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 177 / 192 Next Page
Page Background


Deputy Judge Seagroatt, in the case of Chan Chuen Ping, confirmed that the provisions

of the Ordinance did not restrict the Court’s power in making an order for pre-action

discovery under the High Court Ordinance, which provided a basis for the requestor to

compel disclosure of the data held by government departments to facilitate the

administration of justice by providing to individuals information needed to advance a

potential remedy or possible cause of action.



Whether a conduct would amount to “seriously improper conduct” depends on the

facts of each case. A conduct which does not itself appear to be seriously improper in

nature, e.g. serious indebtedness, may be seriously improper in the circumstances of the

data subject. In AAB No. 5/2006, the AAB considered that the serious indebtedness of an

officer of a law enforcement agency was contrary to the disciplinary guidelines of the

law enforcement agency and amounted to seriously improper conduct.



Even if the data is held or to be used for any of the purposes specified in paragraphs (a)

to (g) of section 58(1), the exemption does not apply unless the data users can also

establish that the application of DPP6 and section 18(1)(b), and DPP3, as the case may

be, would likely prejudice the said purposes. Whether or not the specified purposes

would be likely prejudiced does not depend on the subjective view of the data user. The

standard is an objective one.


The more enquiries and evidence the data users

reasonably make and obtain to establish the prejudice requirement, the more likely that

they may satisfy this objective requirement.


There is usually little or no doubt that the provision by a data user of any personal data

requested by a law enforcement agency would be used in the discharge of the

agency’s functions (e.g. the prevention or detection of crime, the assessment or

collection of any tax or duty, etc.), the matter of which would fall within section 58(1).

However, simply because a law enforcement agency requests the personal data does

not necessarily mean that a data user can provide the data as requested without

complying with DPP3. The question is whether non-provision of the data would indeed

be so serious as to be likely to prejudice any such matters, as required by section



In a complaint case, a bank disclosed a data subject’s personal data to the police after

receiving a letter from the police requesting such disclosure for the purposes of a

disciplinary investigation. The police argued that the request was exempt from DPP3

based on section 58(1)(d) and (2). The bank relied on the police’s statement and

disclosed the personal data to the police without first obtaining the complainant’s

consent pursuant to DPP3. The Commissioner found that the bank had breached DPP3,

as it could not reasonably believe that providing the personal data to the police without

complying with DPP3 would likely prejudice the purpose of section 58(1)(d). The



Chan Yim Wah Wallace v. New World First Ferry Services Limited

[HCPI 820/2013], the Court observed that the broader

ambit of the new section 60B will render largely otiose the narrow scope of section 58(1) and (2). See paragraphs 12.78

to 12.81 for detailed discussions.


Similar examples can also be found in

AAB No. 12/2014 and AAB No. 26/2014



AAB No. 5/2006