Suicides of benefit claimants reveal DWP flaws, says inquiry – The Guardian

‘A series of secret internal inquiries into the deaths of people claiming social security reveal that ministers were repeatedly warned of shortcomings in the treatment of vulnerable claimants facing potentially traumatic cuts to their benefits entitlements.’

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The Guardian, 13th May 2016

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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A judge-shaming list is bad for justice – The Guardian

‘Judges shouldn’t be frightened to set precedents. A list of those that have “gone too far” – including over a Guardian freedom of information request on the Prince of Wales’s letters – risks deterring justice.’

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The Guardian, 12th May 2016

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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Freedom of information lives on – OUP Blog

Posted May 10th, 2016 in freedom of information, news, reports by sally

‘The Freedom of Information Act is here to stay. At any rate for the time being. That is the good news implicit in the statement on 1 March 2016 by Matt Hancock, the UK Cabinet Office Minister, that, “this government is committed to making government more transparent”.’

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OUP Blog, 10th May 2016

Source: http://blog.oup.com

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Won’t Someone Think of the Children? – Panopticon

Posted May 6th, 2016 in detention, freedom of information, news, restraint, young offenders by tracey

‘There has long been considerable public concern over the restraint techniques used in young offender institutions and secure training centres. In Willow v Information Commissioner & Ministry of Justice [2016] UKUT 157 (AAC), the Upper Tribunal had to consider the public interest balance as it applied to section 31(1)(f) FOIA, i.e. information prejudicial to the maintenance of security and good order in prisons or other institutions in which people are detained. The request had been for the physical restraint training manual, and the FTT had upheld the application of the exemption.’

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Panopticon, 6th May 2016

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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Payments to wrongly held detainees top £4m each year – BBC News

Posted April 20th, 2016 in compensation, detention, freedom of information, immigration, news by sally

‘The government is paying more than £4m each year in compensation to people who were held unlawfully in immigration detention centres, figures show.’

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BBC News, 20th April 2016

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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Chills, thrills and surprises: ten years of freedom of information in the UK – OUP Blog

Posted April 12th, 2016 in freedom of information, legislation, media, news, parliament by sally

‘The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act has been in the news again, when the controversial Independent Commission, much to the surprise of many, concluded the Act was ‘generally working well’, had ‘enhanced openness and transparency… there is no evidence that the Act needs to be radically altered’.’

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OUP Blog, 10th April 2016

Source: http://blog.oup.com

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Information rights judgment reveals Charles’ views on the Queen – Panopticon

‘The Royal Family has been the subject of a good deal of information rights litigation. The most famous is of course the Evans saga, about the ‘advocacy correspondence’ of Prince Charles. There have also been cases about (to name just a few subjects) the cost of police protection for the Royal Family, whether or not the Duchy of Lancaster is a public authority, royal wills and alleged heirs to the throne, as well as – most recently – whether the Duke or Duchy of Cornwall is a public authority for the purposes of the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs). The most recent judgment focuses on Her Majesty the Queen herself, and reveals the views of Charles (J).’

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Panopticon, 7th April 2016

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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Secret court hearing to rule on Foreign Office’s evaluation of human rights – The Guardian

‘A three-year battle by the Foreign Office (FCO) to keep secret how diplomatic issues colour its human rights decisions reached its climax on Thursday, in a court case that was itself largely held in secret at the insistence of the security services.’

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The Guardian, 7th April 2016

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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The Duke and Duchy of Cornwall and the EIRs – Panopticon

‘The Duchy of Cornwall was established by Edward III in 1337 for his son. There is a landed estate (the Duchy) and a title (the Duke). Edward III was no doubt unconcerned about any legal duties that may attach to the Duchy; he had bigger fish to fry. In the 21st century, however, at least one knotty question of legal duty has surfaced.’

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Panopticon, 5th April 2016

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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MoJ wins privilege battle over PowerPoint slides prepared by counsel for training session – Legal Futures

‘PowerPoint slides prepared by external counsel for training at the Ministry of Justice were subject to legal professional privilege and did not have to be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) has ruled.’

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Legal Futures, 7th April 2016

Source: www.legalfutures.co.uk

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Prince of Wales’ Duchy of Cornwall wins oyster farm scrutiny appeal – BBC News

‘The Prince of Wales’s private estate has won an appeal against a ruling that would have forced it to open up its dealings to greater public scrutiny.’

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BBC News, 4th April 2016

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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Children aged 10 among hundreds held over alleged gun crimes – BBC News

Posted March 29th, 2016 in children, firearms, freedom of information, news by sally

‘Children as young as 10 were among hundreds of youngsters arrested for suspected gun crimes in the last three years, new data has revealed.’

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BBC News, 29th March 2016

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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Personal data and politicians’ names – Panopticon

‘Can the name of a local councillor who has defaulted on Council tax properly be withheld from disclosure under the exemption for personal data in s.40 FOIA? That was the issue for the Upper Tribunal (“UT”) in Haslam v (1) Information Commissioner (2) Bolton Council [2016] UKUT 0139 (AAC), 10 March 2016. Mr Haslam, a journalist on the Bolton News, had submitted a FOIA request to Bolton Council for disclosure of names of councillors who had received reminders for non-payment of Council tax since May 2011. The Council refused to name names, citing the exemption in s.40 FOIA. The Information Commissioner and First-Tier Tribunal (“FTT”) upheld the Council’s decision. The UT (Judge Markus QC) has now reversed the FTT’s decision, and held that the name of the individual councillor concerned should be released.’

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Panopticon, 18th March 2016

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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Review decides not to change Freedom of Information Act – The Guardian

Posted March 1st, 2016 in freedom of information, legislation, news, reports by sally

‘A government announcement that there will be “no legal changes” to the Freedom of Information legislation following a review of the act was being cautiously welcomed by campaigners on Monday.

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The Guardian, 1st March 2016

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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The Attorney General on who should decide what the public interest is – Attorney General’s Office

‘The Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP spoke at University College London’s Law Faculty on his role as a guardian of the public interest.’

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Attorney General’s Office, 8th February 2016

Source: www.gov.uk/ago

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Judges ‘not always best placed’ to decide public interest – Law Society’s Gazette

‘Politicians are sometimes better placed than judges to decide what is in the public interest in disputes over freedom of information, the government’s most senior lawyer has said.’

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Law Society’s Gazette, 9th February 2016

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

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MPs better placed than judges to decide public interest, says attorney general – The Guardian

‘Politicians are frequently better placed than judges to decide what constitutes the public interest in releasing information about foreign relations, national security and other areas, according to the attorney general.’

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The Guardian, 8th February 2016

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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Close legal loophole which means public services contractors don’t have disclose their work, say campaigners – The Independent

Posted January 26th, 2016 in contracting out, disclosure, freedom of information, news by sally

‘Companies who operate everything from prisons to parking services and prosecuting TV licence evaders must be made more accountable, campaigners say.’

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The Independent, 25th January 2016

Source: www.independent.co.uk

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No case for rewriting FoI Act, says information commissioner – The Guardian

‘Advice given to ministers by civil servants should not be excluded from freedom of information legislation, according to the official responsible for overseeing the workings of the act.’

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The Guardian, 20th January 2016

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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Files detailing police spying operations against protesters published online – The Guardian

Posted January 15th, 2016 in demonstrations, freedom of information, internet, news, police, spying by sally

‘A large number of files detailing the covert police surveillance of campaigners and trade unionists have been published online following the launch of a new project.’

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The Guardian, 14th January 2016

Source: www.theguardian.com

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