The High Court has overturned the Human Rights Review Tribunal's finding of a breach of privacy in the Dotcom case.

Kim Dotcom made a request in 2015 under the Privacy Act for "every record mentioning him by name held by every government agency and every then-government minister, plus each agency contracted to work with any of those entities".

The internet mogul claimed the total of 52 requests should be dealt with under urgency because the information was necessary for his upcoming extradition eligibility hearing.

Most of the requests were transferred to the Attorney-General, and were declined on the basis they were "vexatious" and included "trivial" information. Dotcom filed a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner, which was rejected.


He then complained to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, which found it was wrong for the Crown to transfer the requests to the Attorney-General and to refuse the requests.

It awarded Dotcom $90,000 damages, $60,000 for injury to feelings, and $30,000 for loss of a benefit - that being the information that he sought.

Outlined in a decision released today, the High Court has allowed the Attorney-General's appeal.

"We find that there was a proper and lawful purpose for the transfer of the requests and that, because of the insistence that all 52 requests were required to be responded to urgently, on the ground that the information sought was relevant to the eligibility proceedings, they were vexatious," it states.

It also said it would not have upheld the awards of damages for lost benefit and loss of dignity or injury to feelings.

At the four-day appeal hearing last month, the lawyer for the Attorney-General, Victoria Casey told the High Court at Wellington the transfer of the requests was "orthodox and sensible", and that the Tribunal had taken the wrong approach to deciding whether the requests were vexatious.

There was also "no evidential basis" for the $30,000 award for loss of a benefit, because Dotcom could have reapplied for the information under another part of the Privacy Act.

Casey also challenged the $60,000 award for injury to feelings, saying the requests were taken seriously and dealt with respectfully.


Dotcom has a number of matters going through the courts, including his battle against extradition.

The Court of Appeal upheld a decision in July that Dotcom could be extradited to the United States to face criminal copyright charges.

The Queenstown-based millionaire has vowed to appeal that decision in the Supreme Court.