January 6th, 2010 by Robin Hopkins

Public authorities will wish to note the Information Tribunal’s recent confirmation of the Commissioner’s view that the costs of redaction do not count towards the cost of complying with a request, and should thus be ignored for the purposes of s. 12 FOIA.


That section contains an exemption where the estimated cost of compliance with a request under FOIA would exceed the appropriate limit set by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. By regulation 4(3)(d), the ‘”allowable tasks” for the purposes of the cost calculation include “extracting the information from a document containing it”. In its recent decision in Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police v Information Commissioner (EA/2009/0029), the Tribunal held that this did not extend to redaction.


A differently constituted Tribunal had reached the same decision in Jenkins v IC and DEFRA (EA/2006/0067), but had observed that the point was not free from doubt. The more recent decision – which deals with both statutory construction and matters of principle – appears to have dispelled this doubt.






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