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Freedom of Information Act 2000

Access to Public Records

286.Paragraphs 2 and 3 amend the Public Records Act 1958 with the effect of preserving the duty of the Keeper of Public Records to arrange reasonable facilities for the inspection of records which are held in the Public Record Office (and other appointed places of deposit) and which are subject to disclosure under the provisions of the Act, but otherwise to repeal the provisions of the 1958 Act relating to access to such records. The provision which had been made by section 5 of that Act had established a regime for access to and closure of records largely based on the discretion of the Lord Chancellor. That discretionary provision is superseded by the statutory regime for access which is established by sections 1 and 2 of the Act and which is subject to the exemptions in Part II of the Act. The provision made by sections 65 and 66 retains some of the 1958 Act’s elements of consultation and consent as between the Public Record Office or Lord Chancellor on the one hand, and public authorities on the other, in the case of such disclosure of information as continues under the Act’s regime to be discretionary. Paragraph 5 makes provision for Northern Ireland corresponding to that made by paragraph 2(3).

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