This from Bill Madden’s WordPress (

The interlocutory decision of Henry v State of New South Wales [2020] NSWDC 222 (available on Caselaw) arose against the background of a claim by a paramedic employed by the Ambulance Service of NSW. The plaintiff alleged breaches by the defendant of, inter alia, duties of care said to be owed to the plaintiff in relation to his proper training and supervision and having procedures in place to deal with the traumatic experiences that paramedics must confront as part of their duties. Breaches are alleged in relation to the failure to have systems in place and, in particular, the failure to exercise proper care following the plaintiff’s exposure to specified particular traumatic events.

The interlocutory dispute concerned the width of the plaintiff’s subpoena for various reasons, including a claim for “all Patient Health Care Records in which”  the plaintiff was one of the attending paramedics, over a specified range of dates. To that extent privacy issues arose in that documents would refer to other persons, the patients. In that regard the Court commented at [34] – [35]:

In relation to the privacy issues, in my view, whilst they are important, they can be dealt with through undertakings or through limited access and potentially redaction. In relation to the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW), clearly the interests of patients is highly significant. I agree with the matters consistent with that referred to by Hall J in paragraphs 117 and 119 of the GB case which I have mentioned above. The clear policy of the Act is, where relevant, to attempt to protect the privacy of third parties and they are the persons who are referred to in the documents sought.

However, I accept the submission of Mr Morris that the matter can be properly dealt with through undertakings and there is protection through the Harman v Home Office principle. There could also be redactions.

The Court ultimately held that the subpooena was too wide but commented that a narrower subpoena or notice to produce seeking more specific documents, using the list or particular dates may well be held to be permissible.

As Bill said in an email to me this is a “Preliminary note obviously, but a judgment on the primary claim may follow at some point.”  On the other hand, the case may ultimately settle but if there is a judgment I’ll report it here.