In Jackson v IC and the Electoral Commission (EA/2011/0136), the appellant had requested information in connection with an investigation made into donations made to the Liberal Democrat Party by the company 5th Avenue Partners. The company’s sole director was Michael Brown, who had been convicted of theft, money laundering and perverting the course of justice. It was alleged that the company was therefore an impermissible donor under the law governing donations to political parties. The Electoral Commission did not uphold that allegation: it issued a short press statement explaining that there was no legal justification for piercing the corporate veil in connection with the company’s donation.
The requester asked for the list of legal authorities upon which that opinion was based.
The request was refused on the grounds of s. 42 of FOIA (legal professional privilege). The Commissioner upheld the refusal, and so has the Tribunal: it has confirmed that a simple list of cases can attract LPP, and it found that – in view of the limited assistance this list would offer the requester – the public interest favoured maintaining the exemption.