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Freedom of Information Act 2000

Part V: Appeals

Section 57: Appeal against notices served under Part IV

190.Subsections (1) and (2) of this section enable a complainant or a public authority to appeal to the Tribunal against a decision notice and a public authority to appeal to the Tribunal against an information notice or enforcement notice served on it.

191.Subsection (3) relates to decision notices or enforcement notices about information which falls under section 66 (Decisions relating to certain transferred public records) and in respect of which, under subsections (3) and (4) of that section, the "responsible authority" (that is, generally, the originating authority) has determined that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. This subsection provides that either the public authority holding the information or the responsible authority can appeal against a decision notice or enforcement notice requiring such a disclosure.

Section 58: Determination of appeals

192.This section provides that appeals are to be allowed on only two grounds:

  • that the notice against which the appeal was brought was not in accordance with the law; or

  • where the notice involved the exercise of discretion by the Commissioner, that he should have acted differently.

193.The Tribunal may review any facts on which the notice was based and if it allows the appeal it may substitute the notice with another one.

Section 59: Appeals from the decision of Tribunal

194.This section enables any party to an appeal to appeal from a decision of the Tribunal to the courts on a point of law.

Section 60: Appeals against national security certificate

195.Section 60 provides that the Commissioner or any person whose request for information is affected by the issue of a certificate under section 23 or 24 may appeal to the Tribunal against the certificate.

196.Sections 23(2) and 24(3) provide that any question of whether exemption under section 23 (information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters) or section 24 (national security) applies falls to be resolved by reference to a decision of a Minister of the Crown who may issue a certificate to the effect that the information is exempt information.

197.Subsections (2) and (3) provide that the Tribunal (which, under Schedule 6 to the Data Protection Act 1998 as amended by Schedule 4 to the Act, will be specially constituted for these appeals) may allow the appeal and quash the certificate if it finds, in the case of section 23(2) appeals, that the information was not exempt information or, in the case of section 24(3) appeals, that, applying the principles of judicial review, the Minister did not act reasonably in issuing the certificate.

198.Subsections (4) and (5) relate to certificates issued by a public authority which identify information by means of a general description as allowed under section 24(3). Subsection (4) provides that, if a public authority claims that particular information is covered by the certificate, any other party to the proceedings may appeal to the Tribunal on the grounds that the certificate does not apply to that information. The Tribunal may determine that the certificate does not apply. If it does not so determine, the certificate applies.

Section 61: Appeal proceedings

199.This section introduces Schedule 4 which amends Schedule 6 to the Data Protection Act 1998 relating to appeal proceedings. The effect of the amendments is that appeals under this Part are dealt with in accordance with the procedures in the amended Schedule 6 to the Data Protection Act 1998.

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