The Newfoundland and Labrador court of appeal has overturned an earlier decision that denied the province's privacy commissioner access to some provincial government documents.
The court ruled that Commissioner Ed Ring should be allowed to review documents that a government body claims only a lawyer and a client should see.
Ring believes the appeal court made the right decision.
"Without having the information provided to us, then there was no way that this office could fulfill its mandate and provide an independent review," he said
In a written decision, the court of appeal said a previous judge erred in law in declaring that the commissioner was not entitled to access some records.
Provincial justice department officials claimed the documents could not be released to the commissioner because they contained confidential information protected by solicitor-client privilege.
Ring wasn't fighting for the documents to be released to the public.
He said was fighting to do his job — to independently review documents and determine if they should or shouldn't be released.
"It was a dangerous precedent for a public body to say 'I'm sorry, our interpretation of the [The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy] act is this and you don't have authority to see those records,'" said Ring.
Ring said the court challenge wasn’t initiated by an isolated case. He said other public bodies have been using the same argument to withhold documents from him.
Now those bodies are expected to release documents that were kept from the information and privacy commissioner.