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Freedom of Information Act 2000

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Commencement Orders bringing legislation that affects this Act into force:

Refusal of requestE+W+S+N.I.

17 Refusal of request.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is to any extent relying on a claim that any provision of Part II relating to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request or on a claim that information is exempt information must, within the time for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice which—

(a)states that fact,

(b)specifies the exemption in question, and

(c)states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

(2)Where—

(a)in relation to any request for information, a public authority is, as respects any information, relying on a claim—

(i)that any provision of Part II which relates to the duty to confirm or deny and is not specified in section 2(3) is relevant to the request, or

(ii)that the information is exempt information only by virtue of a provision not specified in section 2(3), and

(b)at the time when the notice under subsection (1) is given to the applicant, the public authority (or, in a case falling within section 66(3) or (4), the responsible authority) has not yet reached a decision as to the application of subsection (1)(b) or (2)(b) of section 2,

the notice under subsection (1) must indicate that no decision as to the application of that provision has yet been reached and must contain an estimate of the date by which the authority expects that such a decision will have been reached.

(3)A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is to any extent relying on a claim that subsection (1)(b) or (2)(b) of section 2 applies must, either in the notice under subsection (1) or in a separate notice given within such time as is reasonable in the circumstances, state the reasons for claiming—

(a)that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exclusion of the duty to confirm or deny outweighs the public interest in disclosing whether the authority holds the information, or

(b)that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

(4)A public authority is not obliged to make a statement under subsection (1)(c) or (3) if, or to the extent that, the statement would involve the disclosure of information which would itself be exempt information.

(5)A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is relying on a claim that section 12 or 14 applies must, within the time for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that fact.

(6)Subsection (5) does not apply where—

(a)the public authority is relying on a claim that section 14 applies,

(b)the authority has given the applicant a notice, in relation to a previous request for information, stating that it is relying on such a claim, and

(c)it would in all the circumstances be unreasonable to expect the authority to serve a further notice under subsection (5) in relation to the current request.

(7)A notice under subsection (1), (3) or (5) must—

(a)contain particulars of any procedure provided by the public authority for dealing with complaints about the handling of requests for information or state that the authority does not provide such a procedure, and

(b)contain particulars of the right conferred by section 50.

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