Post-summer round up

It has been a relatively quiet summer on the information law front. However, this has very much been the calm before the storm. Important up-coming hearings include not least:

–       Kennedy in the Supreme Court (application of the Article 10 right to freedom of expression in the context of FOIA; previously discussed on Panopticon here, here and here): hearing listed for 29-31 October;

–       T v Secretary of State for the Home Department in the Supreme Court (whether CRB disclosure regime is compatible with Article 8; Court of Appeal judgment previously discussed on Panopticon here): hearing listed for 9-10 December;

–       Edem v Information Commissioner & FSA in the Court of Appeal (appeal against Upper Tribunal FOIA decision that information comprising an individual’s name taken together with information as to their role within an organisation constitutes ‘personal data’, such that it may fall within the scope of s. 40 FOIA): hearing listed for 14 November;

 –       Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust v Information Commissioner in the Upper Tribunal (appeal against the first ever tribunal decision on the imposition of a monetary penalty notice by the Information Commissioner under the DPA; see previous post on this case here): hearing listed for 16 and 17 October;

–       East Sussex County Council v Information Commissioner & Anor in the First-Tier Tribunal: hearing listed for 12-13 November 2013. The case in question is the fourth case to come before the tribunal concerning the imposition of charges by local authorities under the EIR for the provision of property search information – see further the tribunal decisions in East Riding of Yorkshire Council v IC, Kirklees Council v IC and Leeds City Council v IC. In the Leeds case, the Tribunal held that the relatively substantial charges which the Council had sought to impose were impermissible under the EIR. In reaching this conclusion, the Tribunal held that, under r. 8 EIR, a public authority was entitled to impose charges only in respect of the costs of transmitting the information to the applicant and was not entitled to charge for other costs such as the costs of searching for, retrieving and redacting the information. The Tribunal held that this conclusion was in keeping with the conclusions which had been reached by the ECJ in Commission v Germany (Case C-217/97) (the decision is discussed in more detail here). In East Sussex, both the Council and the Commissioner will be inviting the Tribunal to refer to the CJEU the question of the scope of a public authority’s power to charge applicants for environmental information, having regard to the relevant provisions in the Directive.

And in other news…

–       This week the First Tier Tribunal heard the first ever appeal against the imposition of a monetary penalty notice under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. The appeal was brought by Tetrus Telecoms and concerned the sending of unsolicited text messages. You can read the relevant MPN here. A second set of appeals is due to be heard later on this year, this time concerning Nationwide Energy Services and We Claim U Gain Limited. It concerns the sending of unsolicited telephone calls (see the relevant MPN here). It will be interesting to see whether the Tribunal calibrates its approach depending on the type of communication in issue.

11KBW heavily dominates in all of the above cases. No doubt they will all be subject to further comment on Panopticon in due course.

Anya Proops