Alison Berridge, Alexandra Littlewood and Ciar McAndrew: Freedom of Information Journal – Recent decisions of the Commissioner and Tribunal – Monckton Chambers

‘Alison Berridge, Alexandra Littlewood and Ciar McAndrew, public law barristers at Monckton Chambers, highlight the points of interest from April-June decisions of the First-Tier and Upper Tribunals.’

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Monckton Chambers, 20th August 2019

Source: www.monckton.com

Fake NHS psychiatrist ‘medicated at least 160 patients’ – The Independent

Posted July 25th, 2019 in fraud, freedom of information, news, psychiatrists, theft, vetting by tracey

‘GMC apologises for “inadequate” checks after bogus doctor practised for 22 years.’

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The Independent, 24th July 2019

Source: www.independent.co.uk

Home Office accused of covering up plight of hundreds of trafficking victims wrongly detained in immigration centres – The Independent

‘The Home Office has been accused of covering up the plight of hundreds of modern slavery victims after it was forced to disclose data it previously claimed to have “no record” of.’

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The Independent, 16th July 2019

Source: www.independent.co.uk

FOI requests to 20 councils found more than half did not prosecute single letting agent over four-year period, landlords group claims – Local Government Lawyer

‘Local authorities are failing in their duty to prosecute rogue letting agents, the National Landlords Association has claimed after its research found that more than half of 20 councils did not prosecute a single letting agent in the four-year period from 2014/15 to 2017/18.’

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Local Government Lawyer, 4th July 2019

Source: www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk

The end of the line for Kennedy v Charity Commission – Panopticon

‘The background, as you may recall, is that Mr Kennedy, a Times journalist, was trying to get information out of the Charity Commission in connection with the ‘Mariam Appeal’, a fund set up by George Galloway MP for the purposes of supporting Iraqi children suffering from leukaemia. Mr Kennedy wanted to get hold of the information in connection with an investigation he was conducting into whether monies collected under the name of Mariam’s Appeal had been misused. Mr Kennedy made a FOIA request to the Charity Commission, which had conducted an investigation into Mariam’s Appeal. Mr Kennedy’s request was refused on the basis that the information requested fell within the scope of s. 32 FOIA (absolute exemption concerning court records).’

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Panopticon, 18th March 2019

Source: panopticonblog.com

Personal Data in the Upper Tribunal – Panopticon

Posted March 4th, 2019 in data protection, disclosure, freedom of information, news by sally

‘We all love nuggets, be they of gold or chicken. A couple of short recent Upper Tribunal judgments reached under FOIA may not be finger-lickin’ good, but are nonetheless worthy noting as a tasty morsel or two.In Information Commissioner v Halpin [2019] UKUT 29 (AAC) Judge Markus QC overturned an FTT decision which had held that personal data was not exempt under section 40(2) FOIA. She explained that the FTT had erred in declining to have regard to the possibility of wider disclosure to the world beyond the requestor – because the public authority would no longer have any control over the information once released – such that it had failed properly to balance the competing interests and effects of disclosure. This was a point made in GR-N v Information Commissioner & NMC [2015] UKUT 449 (AAC) and applied since. The requestor’s private motives were sufficient to form a legitimate interest, but did not form a justification for disclosure to the world at large. The FTT had also erred in failing to address the core concern of the public authority, that disclosure would lead to inappropriate complaints against or other targeting of the particular data subjects causing them stress. It was no answer to that to say that the authority had procedures to address complaints: the point was not that the complaints would be upheld but that they would have to be dealt with when they would not have been without disclosure.’

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Panopticon, 28th February 2019

Source: panopticonblog.com

Confidentiality – Panopticon

‘Two recent decisions of the FTT on confidential information are of interest, one under FoIA, the other under the EIR, with a local authority being the public authority in both cases.’

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Panopticon, 7th February 2019

Source: panopticonblog.com

Watchdog wants public sector contractors subject to FOI laws – OUT-LAW.com

Posted February 4th, 2019 in contracting out, freedom of information, news, public procurement by sally

‘Freedom of information (FOI) laws should be updated to account for the risks to transparency and accountability in the performance of public services where they are outsourced to businesses, the UK’s information commissioner has said.’

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OUT-LAW.com, 1st February 2019

Source: www.out-law.com

Information Commissioner calls for FOIA and EIR reform to address outsourcing – Local Government Lawyer

Posted January 29th, 2019 in contracting out, environmental protection, freedom of information, news by sally

‘The Information Commissioner has called for the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) to be updated to include organisations providing a public function.’

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Local Government Lawyer, 28th January 2019

Source: www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk

s35 FOIA Updates from the Upper Tribunal – Panopticon

‘A couple of recent Upper Tribunal cases have been handed down on the section 35(1) FOIA exemption for the formulation or development of government policy and for Ministerial communications. Both concern documents produced at the highest levels of Government. Both nudge the jurisprudence on a little bit, and both are worth being aware of for those concerned.’

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Panoptiocn, 14th January 2018

Source: panopticonblog.com

Exposing rogue landlords: ‘The deck feels stacked against tenants’ – The Guardian

‘Simon Goodley explains how the Guardian uncovered the secret world of convicted landlords who continue to operate – and exploit – with impunity.’

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The Guardian, 8th December 2018

Source: www.theguardian.com

Barrister wins right to see reports his bank made to police – Legal Futures

Posted October 11th, 2018 in banking, barristers, freedom of information, money laundering, news, police by sally

‘A barrister has won the right to see suspicious activity reports (SARs) that his bank made to the National Crime Agency (NCA) about money received into his accounts.’

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Legal Futures, 10th October 2018

Source: www.legalfutures.co.uk

Abuse victims increasingly denied right to stay in UK – The Guardian

‘The refusal rate for people applying to stay in the UK after suffering domestic violence more than doubled between 2012 and 2016 after the government pledged to make the UK a “hostile environment for illegal immigrants”.’

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The Guardian, 16th August 2018

Source: www.theguardian.com

Inmate given 57p in compensation after his magazine was damaged by prison staff – Daily Telegraph

Posted August 13th, 2018 in compensation, freedom of information, news, prisons by sally

‘A prisoner was reimbursed 57 pence as compensation after a magazine they owned was lost or damaged by prison staff, as new figures reveal that over £1 million has been given out to convicts for lost property over the past five years.’

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Daily Telegraph, 13th August 2018

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

Identifiability and the Unmotivated Intruder – Panopticon

Posted August 6th, 2018 in disclosure, freedom of information, identification, news, statistics by sally

‘It is not uncommon for public authorities who hold statistical data to decline to disclose specific figures in categories for which the number is fewer than five, on the basis of a fear that the number of affected people is sufficiently small that they are reasonably identifiable. In other words, they rely on section 40(2) FOIA to withhold the number.That approach has now been considered by the Upper Tribunal in Information Commissioner v Miller [2018] UKUT 229 (AAC). That case concerned a request to (what is now) MHCLG for their information supplied by local authorities on a range of homelessness statistics. In relation to parts of the dataset which related to five or fewer individuals, section 40(2) was relied on. The FTT disagreed in a decision on the papers and the ICO appealed.’

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Panopticon, 3rd August 2018

Source: panopticonblog.com

Costs and Vexatiousness: Upper Tribunal Updates – Panopticon

Posted August 6th, 2018 in costs, freedom of information, news, vexatious litigants by sally

‘The procedural exemptions in sections 12 and 14 of FOIA are some of the most commonly used, and most commonly litigated, provisions of the legislation. Unsurprisingly, they have led to a disproportionate degree of appellate involvement. More surprisingly, they continue to do so. Three recent Upper Tribunal decisions add to that body of jurisprudence which ought to be considered by authorities faced with burdensome requests. This post is, as a result, quite burdensome itself.’

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Panopticon, 3rd August 2018

Source: panopticonblog.com

Council not required to disclose advice of independent person: Tribunal – Local Government Lawyer

‘Stratford-on-Avon District Council need not disclose advice given by an independent person in a case over a councillor’s conduct, the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) has said.’

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Local Government Lawyer, 10th July 2018

Source: www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk

Law Pod UK Ep. 36: Secrecy, anonymity and public information – 1 COR

Posted June 18th, 2018 in anonymity, freedom of information, inquests, inquiries, news by sally

‘Emma-Louise Fenelon discusses the challenges around secrecy, anonymity and public information in major inquests and inquiries in a talk recorded at One Crown Office Row’s 2018 seminar.’

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Law Pod UK, 14th June 2018

Source: audioboom.com

Throttling Environmental Information – Panopticon

Posted April 27th, 2018 in environmental protection, freedom of information, news by tracey

‘As is so often the way in information rights, the Upper Tribunal reaches a perfectly sensible decision and gives practical guidance which others can actually apply, only for the Court of Appeal to insist on saying mostly the same thing but less clearly and less helpfully. As a result, the Upper Tribunal then has to reconsider the area and steer the law back to a productive course. So it was in Department for Transport & Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency & Porsche Cars GB Ltd v Information Commissioner & Cieslik [2018] UKUT 127 (AAC) (Cieslik), on the – to put it politely – potential interpretative difficulties on the issue of the meaning of “environmental information” under the EIR following the ‘guidance’ of the Court of Appeal in Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy v Information Commissioner & Henney [2017] EWCA Civ 844 (see here). And the judgment of Judge Markus QC in Cieslik is a genuinely important and valuable exercise in course correction.’

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Panopticon, 27th April 2018

Source: panopticonblog.com

Councillor facing trial for destroying dog poo records – Daily Telegraph

Posted April 26th, 2018 in disclosure, documents, dogs, freedom of information, local government, news by sally

‘A councillor is facing trial for destroying records about a system to catch fouling dog owners in what is believed to be the first case of its kind.’

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Daily Telegraph, 25th April 2018

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk