OGC publishes Gateway Reviews

March 19th, 2009 by Timothy Pitt-Payne QC

Following a decision of the Information Tribunal issued on 19th February, the OGC has published two Gateway Reviews into the ID cards scheme.

The OGC announcement is here (with a link to the documents themselves). The Information Tribunal decision is here, on the Tribunal’s website. This case was previously the subject of a High Court appeal (from an earlier Tribunal decision).


Appeal in Data Sharing Case

January 28th, 2009 by Anya Proops KC

The Information Tribunal has been seized by an appeal against a decision of the Information Commissioner in a case on data sharing. The Appellant requested information from the Cabinet Office relating to a Cabinet Committee which had been set up to consider data sharing in the public sector. The Cabinet Office disclosed some information. However, it refused to disclose minutes of the Committee’s meetings on the basis that they were exempt from disclosure under section 35 FOIA (policy exemption). The Cabinet Office also refused to disclose the names of junior civil servants who attended the meeting on the basis that this information was exempt under section 40(2) FOIA. The Commissioner held that that the Cabinet Office’s refusal to disclose the minutes was lawful. The Appellant is now appealing the Commissioner’s decision to the Tribunal.

Information Commissioner’s Decision Notice:



Closed Sessions in High Court Appeals

January 27th, 2009 by Anya Proops KC

Last week the High Court heard an appeal brought by the Government against the decision of the Information Tribunal in O’Brien v Information Commissioner & Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. The appeal concerned, in particular, whether the Tribunal had erred when applying the public interest test in the context of the exemptions afforded under section 35 (policy development) and section 42 (legal privilege) FOIA. During the course of the appeal, questions where raised by the Respondent (Mr O’Brien) as to whether the Court had jurisdiction to consider: (a) an annex to the decision which the Tribunal had stated should remain confidential to the Commissioner and BERR, pending any further appeal; and (b) the disputed information which had been withheld by BERR. It was argued on behalf of the Commissioner: (a) that the Court had jurisdiction to consider the confidential annex as that annex clearly formed part of the decision which was being appealed; and (b) that the Court had power to consider the disputed information in closed session pursuant to CPR 52.10(1). In summary, CPR 52.10(1) affords the court all the powers of the lower tribunal which is being appealed from, subject to any enactment which precludes the court enjoying such powers.  A judgment on the appeal is awaited.

Tribunal decision: