Academies and FOI – Panopticon

Posted July 17th, 2014 in education, freedom of information, news, tribunals by tracey

‘The question of whether information is ‘held’ by a public authority for FOIA or EIR purposes can raise difficulties. This is especially so where the boundaries between public and private service provision are blurred: consider outsourcing, privatisation of services, public/private partnerships, joint ventures, the use of external consultants and so on. Legal separation and practical day-to-day realities can often point in different directions in terms of who holds information on whose behalf.’

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Panopticon, 16th July 2014

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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Fall in number of offenders barred from working with children – The Guardian

Posted June 24th, 2014 in cautions, criminal records, freedom of information, news, statistics, vetting by sally

‘The number of people who have committed child sex offences and have been barred from working with children has fallen by nearly 10,000 over the past three years, according to freedom of information disclosures.’

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The Guardian, 24th June 2014

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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Open justice and freedom of information – Browning in the Court of Appeal – Panopticon

‘The issue of just how open our justice system should be is an issue which is or should be of fundamental concern to all practising lawyers. If, as Jeremy Bentham once stated ‘publicity is the very soul of justice’ (cited by Lord Shaw in the leading case of Scott v Scott [1913] AC 477), then an open justice system is the corporeal expression of that soul. However, we now live in times where open justice is increasingly under threat. Indeed, as last week’s headlines reminded us all, matters have now got to a stage where some judges at least have been prepared to allow, not merely the deployment of a limited closed procedure to deal with certain aspects of a case, but a completely secret trial. It no doubt came as a relief to many that the Court of Appeal was not prepared to sanction such a comprehensive departure from the open justice principle: Guardian News v AB CD. However, the mere fact that the judiciary was prepared to contemplate such a procedure shows how far we have come since the days of Scott v Scott.’

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Panopticon, 18th June 2014

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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Cyril Smith CPS files ‘must be revealed’ – BBC News

‘The Crown Prosecution Service has been told it must reveal details about its decision not to prosecute the former Rochdale MP Cyril Smith for alleged offences against children.’

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BBC News, 9th June 2014

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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Council wins FOI battle over legal advice for whistle-blowing investigation – Local Government Lawyer

‘A council has won an appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal over its refusal to meet a freedom of information request for the disclosure of legal advice given to a consultant conducting an investigation on the authority’s behalf.’

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Local Government Lawyer, 3rd June 2014

Source: www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk

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MoD denies access to files for Deepcut soldier’s family – The Guardian

Posted May 27th, 2014 in armed forces, disclosure, evidence, freedom of information, news, suicide by sally

‘The family of a teenage soldier who died after being shot twice in the head at the Deepcut barracks have been denied access to a cache of files they believe could shed light on his death, the Guardian can reveal.’

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The Guardian, 26th May 2014

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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The Common Law and the Spirit of Kennedy – Panopticon

‘Following the Supreme Court’s lengthy, slightly unexpected, and difficult to grasp judgment in Kennedy v Charity Commission [2014] UKSC 20 (on which I have been quiet because of my involvement, but see Tom Cross’s blogpost here) there has been room for quite a large amount of debate as to how far it goes. Was the majority only suggesting access to the Charity Commission’s information under the common law principle of open justice applied because of the particular statutory regime and/or the nature of the statutory inquiry involved? Or was the principle rather more wide-ranging?’

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Panopticon, 20th May 2014

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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Public Engagement and Commercial Confidentiality – Oil and Water? – Hardwicke Chambers

‘CCGs may face pressure to disclose information about commissioning in at least four ways. From:

Their duties to involve the public in “planning of the commissioning arrangements by the group” (s14 Z2 National Health Service Act 2006).
Their duties to involve individual patients in “their care or treatment” (s14U National Health Service Act 2006).
Applications to provide information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Applications for disclosure, as part of litigation brought by failed tenderers following procurement exercises.’

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Hardwicke Chambers, 10th April 2014

Source: www.hardwicke.co.uk

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Will Prince Charles’s musings see the light of day? – RPC Privacy Law

‘Prince Charles as heir to the British throne is an assiduous letter-writer and has sent a number of letters to ministers regarding government policy on matters such as environmental issues in which he has a strong interest rather than, it would appear, the more lower level political issues of the day.’

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RPC Privacy Law, 7th May 2014

Source: www.rpc.co.uk

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Legal professional privilege does not automatically engage an EIR exception – Panopticon

‘FOIA provides an exemption (s. 42) expressly for legal professional privilege; as is well known, there is ‘strong inherent weight’ in maintaining that exemption. What about the EIRs? LPP is not expressly mentioned, but regulation 12(5)(b) EIR applies to information the disclosure of which would adversely affect “the course of justice, the ability of a person to receive a fair trial or the ability of a public authority to conduct an inquiry of a criminal or disciplinary nature”. Does information attracting LPP automatically come within that exception? Many practitioners operate on the assumption that the answer is ‘yes’. The Upper Tribunal has on a previous occasion, however, left that question open: DCLG v IC and Robinson [2012] UKUT 103 (AAC); [2012] 2 Info LR 43.’

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Panopticon, 6th May 2014

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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Richard Clayton: The Curious Case of Kennedy v Charity Commission – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘On 26 March 2014 the Supreme Court gave a lengthy judgment in Kennedy v Charity Commission [2014] UKSC 20, running to 248 paragraphs. The Supreme Court decision is full of surprises. The Court decided to depart from the arguments of the parties- the majority insisted that common law rights rather than the Human Rights Act were the key to the case; and then embarked on an extended and wide ranging obiter discussion of public law issues, revealing further disagreements between the Justices.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 18th April 2014

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org

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Kennedy (Appellant) v The Charity Commission (Respondent) – Supreme Court

Kennedy (Appellant) v The Charity Commission (Respondent) [2014] UKSC 20 (YouTube)

Supreme Court, 26th March 2014

Source: www.youtube.com/user/UKSupremeCourt

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Kennedy v Information Commissioner and another (Secretary of State for Justice and others intervening) – WLR Daily

Kennedy v Information Commissioner and another (Secretary of State for Justice and others intervening) [2014] UKSC 20; [2014] WLR (D) 143

‘The Freedom of Information Act 2000 did not provide an exhaustive scheme in respect of the disclosure of information held by the Charity Commission relating to inquiries which they conducted. Although an absolute exemption under section 32(2) of that 2000 Act from disclosure under that Act lasted beyond the completion of such an inquiry, the question whether disclosure of information relating to such an inquiry was available would be governed by the Charities Act 1993, as substituted by the Charities Act 2006, construed in the light of common law principles.’

WLR Daily, 26th March 2014

Source: www.iclr.co.uk

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FOIA’s not all that: Kennedy v The Charity Commission [2014] UKSC 20 – Panopticon

‘The Supreme Court’s much anticipated judgments in Kennedy v The Charity Commission make for a long read. But they are very important. All the parties in Kennedy were represented by Counsel from 11KBW: Andrew Sharland for Mr Kennedy; Karen Steyn and Rachel Kamm for the Charity Commission and the Secretary of State; Ben Hooper for the ICO; and Christopher Knight for the Media Legal Defence Initiative and Campaign for Freedom of Information.’

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Panopticon, 28th March 2014

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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Supreme Court: Strasbourg’s mixed messages about Article 10 and any right to receive information – UK Human Rights Blog

‘Kennedy v. Charity Commission et al, Supreme Court, 26 March 2014. In judgments running to 90 pages, the Supreme Court dismissed this appeal by Mr Kennedy, a Times journalist, for access to documents generated by the Charity Commission under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 concerning three inquiries between 2003 and 2005 into the Mariam Appeal. This appeal was George Galloway’s response to the sanctions imposed on Iraq following the first Gulf War, and little Mariam was a leukaemia sufferer. Mr Kennedy’s suspicion, amongst others, was that charitable funds had been used by Galloway for political campaigning.’

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UK Human Rights Blog, 26th March 2014

Source: www.ukhumanrightsblog.com

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Prince Charles, the Guardian and the Unreasonable Veto – Panopticon

‘As promised last week, this post contains a slightly fuller account of the Court of Appeal’s judgment in R (Evans) v HM Attorney General [2014] EWCA Civ 254. The history of the case is manifold and has been covered on this blog innumerable times (see: here, here and here). In essence, the Upper Tribunal held in a very lengthy judgment that some of the correspondence written by Prince Charles to various governmental departments ought to be disclosed in the public interest. The Attorney General then issued his statement of reasons under section 53 FOIA, which has the effect of vetoing the judicial decision. On any view, the veto is a highly unusual provision. The Divisional Court dismissed the judicial review of that veto. Mr Evans, a Guardian journalist, appealed.’

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Panopticon, 18th March 2014

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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The Not Entirely Secret Diary of Mr Lansley – Panopticon

‘What considerations are relevant when deciding whether a Ministerial diary should be disclosed under FOIA? The decision of the First-tier Tribunal in Department of Health v Information Commissioner EA/2013/0087 is, perhaps surprisingly, the first Tribunal decision to address this issue. The judgment engages with a number of difficult issues: the Tribunal’s approach to Government evidence, the value of cross-examination in Tribunal hearings, aggregation of public interests under FOIA, and Parliamentary privilege. Hence it is of general importance, going beyond the intrinsic interest of its specific subject matter.’

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Panopticon, 18th March 2014

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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CA says Prince Charles’ advocacy letters should be produced – UK Human Rights Blog

Posted March 17th, 2014 in appeals, disclosure, freedom of information, lobbying, news, royal family by tracey

‘R (o.t.a Rob Evans) v. Attorney-General, Information Commissioner Interested Party, 12 March 2014.The Court of Appeal (reversing a strong court including the former Lord Chief Justice – see my previous post) has decided that correspondence between the Prince of Wales and various government departments should be released. A Guardian journalist had made a request under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations to see these documents. The Upper Tribunal had agreed that they should be disclosed.’

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Uk Human Rights Blog, 16th March 2014

Source: www.ukhumanrightsblog.com

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Metropolitan police strip searched more than 4,500 children in five years – The Guardian

Posted March 17th, 2014 in children, freedom of information, news, police, stop and search by tracey

‘More than 4,500 children as young as 10 have been strip searched by the Metropolitan police over the past five years, data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows. The figures obtained by the Guardian show 4,638 children aged between 10 and 16 were asked to remove their clothes and then searched by police between April 2008 and the end of last year. Just over a third were released by police without charge.’

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The Guardian, 16th March 2014

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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Regina (Evans) v Attorney General – WLR Daily

Regina (Evans) v Attorney General; [2014] EWCA Civ 254;  [2014] WLR (D)  124

‘The issue of a certificate by the Attorney General, an accountable person under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, of a certificate under section 53(2) of the Act so as to override and render ineffective a decision of an independent and impartial tribunal required more than that he merely disagreed with the tribunal’s determination. Examples of what would suffice were that there had been a material change of circumstances since the tribunal’s decision or that it was clearly flawed in fact or in law.’

WLR Daily, 12th March 2014

Source: www.iclr.co.uk

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