Good Things Come to Those Who (Have Inherent) Weight – Panopticon

Posted October 30th, 2014 in appeals, disclosure, freedom of information, news, public interest, tribunals by sally

‘Philosophically, everything must have an inherent weight. Otherwise it would have no weight at all. But FOIA is not concerned with philosophy; it is much more concerned with who is in charge of the sheep dip, and indeed the levels of public funding for the sheep being dipped. (No points for spotting that reference, Bruce.) As a result, there are often debates in the FOIA case law about whether a particular qualified exemption contains an inherent weight, i.e. is the fact that the exemption is engaged at all sufficient to place some weight in the public interest balance against disclosure? The answer varies according to the particular exemption.’

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Panopticon, 29th October 2014

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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Strack v European Commission – WLR Daily

Posted October 7th, 2014 in documents, EC law, freedom of information, law reports, proportionality by sally

Strack v European Commission (Case C‑127/13 P) ECLI:EU:C:2014:2250; [2014] WLR (D) 40

‘An institution of the European Union could, in exceptional circumstances, refuse access to certain documents on the ground that the workload relating to their disclosure would be disproportionate as compared to the objectives set by the application for access to those documents. However, reliance on the principle of proportionality could not allow the time-limits laid down by Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (OJ 2001 L145, p 43) to be changed without creating a situation of legal uncertainty.’

WLR Daily, 2nd October 2014

Source: www.iclr.co.uk

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Legal Update: disclosure, formats and context – Law Society’s Gazette

‘Disclosure of information about children, pursuant to a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoI), is always a difficult issue and the natural reaction of public authorities is to err on the side of caution.’

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Law Society’s Gazette, 1st September 2014

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

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Judges could hear information rights tribunal cases on their own – OUT-LAW.com

‘Judges could determine the outcome of some information rights tribunal cases on their own in future under just-published proposals.’

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OUT-LAW.com, 19th August 2014

Source: www.out-law.com

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Accountant’s reports safe from public exposure after FoI ruling – Legal Futures

‘The Law Society’s freedom of information adjudicator has rejected a bid to open up public access to accountant’s reports submitted to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.’

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Legal Futures, 20th August 2014

Source: www.legalfutures.co.uk

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Evidence during FOI disputes can be provided in secret, rules Court of Appeal – OUT-LAW.com

‘Public bodies defending a decision to withhold information requested under freedom of information (FOI) laws can submit evidence to an information rights tribunal in secret, the Court of Appeal has ruled.’

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OUT-LAW.com, 4th August 2014

Source: www.out-law.com

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Innes v Information Commissioner and another – WLR Daily

Innes v Information Commissioner and another [2014] EWCA 1086; [2014] WLR (D) 358

‘Under section 11(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 a claimant requesting information under section 1(1) of the 2000 Act was entitled to stipulate what software format should be used when the information sought was provided to him.’

WLR Daily, 31st July 2014

Source: www.iclr.co.uk

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Requests for FOI disclosures in particular formats must generally be adhered to, rules Court of Appeal – OUT-LAW.com

Posted August 4th, 2014 in appeals, disclosure, freedom of information, interpretation, news by sally

‘Public bodies must generally adhere to individuals’ requests for information to be provided in a specific electronic format under freedom of information (FOI) laws, the Court of Appeal in London has ruled.’

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OUT-LAW.com, 1st August 2014

Source: www.out-law.com

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

Posted August 1st, 2014 in closed material, evidence, freedom of information, news, tribunals by sally

‘Last month I penned a post on the issue of how the principle of natural justice can be reconciled with the use of closed procedures in FOIA appeals. The post was written against the backdrop of the Court of Appeal hearing of the appeal in the Browning case. Today the Court of Appeal has handed down its judgment. Mr Browning’s appeal was dismissed.’

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Panopticon, 30th July 2014

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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Section 11 FOIA and the Form of a Request – Panopticon

Posted August 1st, 2014 in electronic mail, freedom of information, news, school admissions by sally

‘In the usual end of term rush, the Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 on the provision in section 11 FOIA which allows a requestor to express a preference for communication by a particular means, so long as it is reasonably practicable to give effect to the preference. The issue in Innes was that Mr Innes had requested certain school admissions information and had sent a further email shortly afterwards asking for that information to be supplied to him in Excel format. The ICO, the FTT and the Upper Tribunal had all ruled against Mr Innes, in part relying on the Scottish decision of Glasgow City Council v Scottish Information Commissioner [2009] CSIH 73; [2010] SC 125.’

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Panopticon, 1st August 2014

Source: www.panopticonblog.com

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Browning v Information Commissioner and Another – WLR Daily

Browning v Information Commissioner and Another [2014] EWCA Civ 1050;  [2014] WLR (D) 346

‘The First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) Rules 2009 permitted the tribunal when hearing an appeal against a decision of the Information Commissioner to adopt a closed material procedure in which a party and his legal representatives were excluded from the hearing or part of it.’

WLR Daily, 30th July 2014

Source: www.iclr.co.uk

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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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