Mr Todd has lodged an appeal against a decision notice of the Commissioner involving the BBC. He will be a litigant in person at the Tribunal hearing. He applied to the Tribunal for permission to publish on his blog the pleadings lodged by the Commissioner and the BBC, so as to “recruit advice and assistance from other members of a wide community of on-line democratic activists who may have relevant and informal contributions to make to my case”. In other words, he argued that publication would help him achieve equality of arms.

Neither the Commissioner nor the BBC objected to his doing so in this particular case. The Commissioner, however, contended that litigants had no automatic right to publish pleadings in a ‘live’ case, but could only do so with the leave of the Tribunal on a case-by-case basis. The BBC on the other hand, contended that the Tribunal had no power to authorise such publication under the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (General Regulatory Chamber) Rules 2009.

The Tribunal agreed with the Commissioner (see its ruling here), and authorised the publication of the pleadings in this case. It is therefore theoretically open to litigants in person to take this approach – but only with the permission of the Tribunal. Importantly, the Tribunal’s reason for allowing publication in this case appears to have been the lack of objection by the other parties and not Mr Todd’s ‘equality of arms’ argument, which it expressly rejected. It seems then that the views of the respondents will be crucial to any such applications in future.