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Enterprise Act 2002

Section 237: General restriction

590.This section sets out the general restriction on the disclosure of information by a public authority. The term ‘public authority’ is defined in section 238 by reference to the Human Rights Act 1998.

591.Subsection (1) states that the general restriction applies only to information classed as ‘specified information’– as defined in section 238. Therefore, these provisions impose no restrictions on the disclosure of information that falls outside the definitions in section 238. The restriction applies in respect of specified information that relates to either the affairs of an individual or to those of any business of an undertaking.

592.Subsection (2) provides that the restriction will apply throughout the lifetime of any individual who is the subject of the information, or while any undertaking to which the information relates continues in existence. However, it also acts as a pointer to the exceptions to the general restriction that are set out in sections 239-243 inclusive.

593.Subsection (3) sets out a further exception to the general restriction: disclosure is permitted where the information concerned has already been placed in the public domain by any lawful means, including – but not restricted to – any of the exceptions to the general restriction set out in sections 239-243 inclusive.

594.Subsection (4) states that all of the provisions on disclosure of information are subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

595.Subsection (5) states that the Competition Appeal Tribunal is not subject to the disclosure provisions of this Part.

596.Subsection (6) confirms that the restrictions on disclosure, with the exception of section 244, are not intended to affect any power or duty to disclose information which exists outside Part 9 of the Act (i.e. whether arising under this Act or elsewhere).

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