Federal Court grants protective costs order to Professor Jenny Hocking in ‘Palace Letters’ case (Media Release)

Emeritus Professor Jenny Hocking last week secured an important decision on costs from the Federal Court of Australia in her case against the National Archives of Australia seeking the release of the ‘Palace letters’ about the dismissal of the Whitlam government. 
On Friday 22 June 2018, the Federal Court granted a protective costs order in Professor Hocking’s appeal against Justice Griffiths’ decision which effectively denies public access to the letters until at least 2027. The protective costs order, to which the National Archives consented, caps Professor Hocking’s adverse costs exposure and removes a significant financial barrier to the progress of the appeal.

Professor Hocking says; ‘The Federal Court’s decision to make a protective costs order is extremely significant for the Palace letters case, and for public interest cases generally, removing a major financial barrier to the progression of the case through the appeal. It is vital that public interest cases can proceed through all legal stages without fear of prohibitive costs effectively denying them full access to the legal system. The Court order is an important step in this direction.’

Read the full press release here.

For more background details on the case, read here.


John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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