Two decisions on 21 March 2011 of differently constituted First-Tier Tribunals, Johnston v I Co and Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, EA/2010/0130/0131, and Gilbert v I Co and Local Government Ombudsman, EA/2010/0190, both considered the exemption from disclosure constituted by FoIA s40.  In each case the FTT found that individuals were the focus of the information requested and that it constituted personal data.  In each case the FTT considered whether disclosure would breach the first data protection principle under the DPA, in particular whether disclosure would be unfair, whether the disclosure was necessary to promote legitimate interests, and whether disclosure would cause unwarranted interference with the interests of the individuals whose data was in issue, especially in the case of a junior officer and where any legitimate aims of the requester could be achieved by a means that interfered less with the privacy of the individual officer, whilst retaining accountability.

James Goudie QC