Guide to the Anonymisation of Personal and Sensitive Information

Personal identifiers are specific information that can uniquely identify an individual when used in combination with other information such as a name.

Examples of unique information include street numbers of past or present residential addresses, dates of birth, anniversary dates, Medicare numbers, bank account numbers, tax file numbers and driving licence numbers. Including unique personal identifiers when drafting court documents can lead to identity theft. The risk of identity theft can be reduced by avoiding or anonymising unique personal identifiers.

The practice suggested by the Court is to minimise the use of personal identifiers of third parties when drafting court documents. Where possible, general personal information should be provided over specifics and, where this is not possible, substitutions should be used.

For example:

"the applicant's child, whose date of birth is 02 December 1988 and the subject of Australian citizenship number CN0000123K, was residing at 123 Main Street, Hobart TAS 7000"

Could be:

"the applicant's child, who was born in 1988 and the subject of Australian citizenship number CN xxxx xx3K, was residing in Hobart."

When drafting a document the following table serves as suggested substitutions for third party information:


Suggested Substitutions

Dates of birth Refer only to the year or, if absolutely necessary, the month and the year.
Address  Give a general indication of the location such as the name of the city.
Telephone numbers  Omit or partially obscure the phone or fax number by replacing a number of digits with 'xx'
Email addresses Omit or partially obscure use xxx@xxx
Unique identifiers such as: 
  • bank account details
  • tax file numbers
  • Medicare numbers
  • Citizenship numbers
  • credit card numbers
  • car registration
  • driving license numbers or
  • passport
Remove all or a sequence of the numbers to obscure the reference e.g. Passport No xxxx xxxx xx34 

If it is essential that personal or sensitive information about an individual be included in a document, consideration should be given before lodgment to whether a suppression or non-publication order should be sought.

This guide does not apply to the provision of practitioners' or deponents' contact details to the Court in accordance with the Court's rules or practice and procedure.