September 29, 2023


Learn Business From Experience

Is It Authorized to Open Somebody Else’s Mail? (Australia)

4 min read

It occurs to us all. You open up all of your mail solely to understand {that a} letter or package deal has another person’s title on it.

Possibly you’ve moved homes, or perhaps it was erroneously redirected to your deal with, however can this innocent act land you in scorching water? 

The reply is sure. Opening another person’s mail can really be thought of unlawful in Australia.

Learn alongside as we clarify what the legalities are in relation to opening mail that wasn’t supposed for you.

Exceptions to opening another person’s mail in Australia 

In Australia, beneath the Telecommunications and Postal Services Act 1989, it’s an offence to open mail that you’re not authorised to open – that’s if it’s not addressed to you.

Furthermore, something that’s lined beneath Federal postal offences is deemed to be a felony. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to know that this rule has some exceptions. 

Accidents can occur, and you might not intend to open folks’s mail. For instance:

  • You might have ripped open the envelope earlier than checking the deal with
  • The addressee’s title wasn’t on the envelope
  • The mail was despatched to the flawed deal with or a totally different deal with
  • The postman added the mail to the flawed letterbox
  • The mail was despatched to a earlier tenant of the home

Should you’re caught up with any of the accidents above, you received’t get into hassle except you tamper with the mail.

When is it mail theft?

Tampering with mail is a legal offence in Australia. Opening mail you aren’t authorised to will be thought of tampering.

Division 471 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) is the place you will see that the regulation on postal offences. Underneath part 471.7, it’s a federal crime when you open a ‘mail-receptacle’ that’s not yours.

What’s a mail-receptacle?

A mail-receptacle is mainly any package deal, mail-bag, parcel, container and many others., that arrives within the put up.

To ensure that it to be an offence, you should be seen to have dishonestly opened it or deliberately carried out so, understanding that you’re not authorised to. An unintentional opening with out intention isn’t unlawful.

Nevertheless, when you’re opening a individual’s mail deliberately, then you will get into severe hassle. 

It’s protected to say that subsequent time you obtain a parcel from the Iconic that doesn’t have your title on it – it’s finest to return it to the sender.

Preserving mail

Even though by chance opening another person’s mail received’t be unlawful, what you do with it afterwards will be incriminating. 

Should you open the mail that has been wrongly delivered and in addition maintain onto it dishonestly, you will be charged with concealment. 

Equally, it’s unlawful to throw out mail supposed for another person. 

The one authority in Australia which might throw out mail is the put up workplace comparable to Australia Submit.

Different postal offences

The Felony Code Act, together with the Telecommunication and Postal Services Act (Cth), covers a wide range of different postal offences that may end up in legal penalties. The next actions could be thought of offences:

  • Stealing mail from the postal service
  • Tampering with a put up field
  • Throwing out mail
  • Dishonestly receiving stolen mail
  • Harassing others through put up
  • Stealing somebody’s mail containing a bank card, and present process id theft is a legal exercise

What to do with mail that isn’t yours

DO NOT throw the mail away. 

As beforehand talked about, it’s unlawful to get rid of mail that isn’t yours. The perfect plan of action is to put in writing “RETURN TO SENDER” on the envelope and place it into your native put up field.

Ceaselessly Requested Questions (FAQs)

Who enforces the postal legal guidelines?

The Australian Federal Police handles federal crimes. Most e mail tampering circumstances get settled within the native courts first.

The way to report somebody opening your mail in Australia?

You may report mail tampering to your native police, they usually gives you the assets you should pursue your case.

What are the results of studying another person’s e mail?

Should you open the mail that has been wrongly delivered and in addition maintain onto it dishonestly, you will be charged with concealment.

Key takeaways

Having gone by means of the postal offences laws, it’s clear that the important thing focus of the legal guidelines is on intent. 

Within the majority of the provisions, the regulation would require prior data or dishonesty as components to show an offence. Nevertheless, there’s an acknowledgement that opening mail not addressed to you may occur by chance. 

Supplied you don’t use the mail dishonestly or deceitfully, you’ll not face any legal expenses. Nevertheless, in case your actions align with any of the postal offences above, you must rent a lawyer

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