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Director of Marine as a result of a marine accident for the purpose of determining the

issue of liability of the defendant and were necessary for disposing fairly of the cause or

matter in the proceedings. Bharwaney J expounded how the Court would balance the

need for disclosure in the interest of the administration of justice and countervailing

factors such as “protection of personal data” under the Ordinance and “the duty of

confidentiality” under common law.


The Court explicitly noted that the exemption under section 60B is broader as compared

with section 58(2) because there is no requirement to show prejudice to the purpose

under section 58(1) before the exemption can be invoked. In illustrating the application

of section 60B(a), the Court cited the examples of section 13 of the Motor Vehicles

Insurance (Third Party Risks) Ordinance, (Cap 272) and section 44(A) of the Employees’

Compensation Ordinance (Cap 282) which create a duty on the part of the insured

person to give particulars of his motor insurance policy and to produce the insurance

policy and other related documents for inspection. Hence, disclosure of the insurance

particulars, including the identity of the insurer, is required to be made under these

statutory provisions.



The Court further mentioned that in cases of accidents where persons have been injured,

the investigating authorities ought to have no hesitation in concluding that applicants

seeking discovery of witness statements and investigation reports in respect of an

accident are doing so because those documents are required either in connection with

their contemplated legal proceedings for damages for personal injuries against the

tortfeasors concerned, or are required for establishing and exercising their legal rights.

Hence, they can be confident that the relevant exemption in section 60B protects them.

However, section 60B does not compel a data user to make disclosure. In case of any

doubt as to the genuineness of an applicant’s intended claim or the legitimacy of the

disclosure application, the party can apply for a Court order.


If the exemption in section 60B is invoked, there is no longer any need to redact the

personal data contained in the documents in question. Even if the exemption does not

apply, the Court is still able to order discovery if, in balancing those countervailing rights,

it comes to the view that privacy rights must give way to the public interest.

Section 61 —News


Section 61 relates to striking a fair balance between upholding the freedom of the press

essential to journalists and the protection of the personal data privacy rights of

individuals. Section 61 applies to personal data held by a data user who engages in


The application of section 60B(a) is also illustrated in the decision of the AAB in

AAB No.41/2014

. The AAB in this case

considered that the printing of the particulars as specified under Schedule 9(1) of Road Traffic (Registration and

Licensing of Vehicles) Regulations (Cap 374E) on a closed road permit and the display of the permit in front of a vehicle

as required under Regulation 56 is exempt from DPP3 by virtue of section 60B(a). In another decision

Ng Shek Wai v The

Medical Council of Hong Kong

(HCAL 167/2013), the Court also explained the application of the exemption under

section 60B(a) for disclosure, which is required or authorised by the common law principle of open justice, of the names

of the counsel acting for a medical practitioner in a disciplinary inquiry and the panel members of the medical council

hearing the inquiry.