Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Information Tribunal Appeals

The Information Tribunal website has some new pending appeals listed, there are some high profile cases on the way:

-The Observer's appeal over their request for "names and nationalities of foreign diplomats alleged to have committed serious offences over the previous five years" to the FCO, the IC did not uphold the complaint. Read the ICO decision. pre hearing review. 22.6.06 at 0900 hrs

-The Guardian's appeal relating to her Request for the BBC Governors' minutes post-Hutton. The ICO did not uphold the complaint. Read the original ICO decision.

- On the other side of the coin: The Corporate Officer of the House of Commons is appealing the decision notice requiring the release of detailed MP travel expenses. The decision to apeal this does strange in light of the Scottish Parliament's open approach to this area following a number of FOI requests.

The following appeal was dismissed by the Tribunal on 31st May: "Alan Wales,
Appellant and the Information Commissioner and Newcastle National Health Service". The Trust invited the Tribunal to make a costs order against the appellant. The tribunal notes:
"In the circumstances that apply in this case it provides that we may order costs against a party if we consider that it has been responsible for frivolous, vexatious, improper or unreasonable actions. Rule 29 (2) provides that, if we are minded to make an award of costs we should first give the party facing that potential liability an opportunity to make representations on the matter............ We have concluded that, although it could certainly be argued that some of the Appellant’s arguments (noticeably those mentioned in paragraphs 10, 11 and 17 above) crossed the threshold of vexatiousness, his appeal overall did not."

Read the tribunal decision in full (PDF)

The rules quoted by the tribunal are in Statutory Instrument 2005 no14 The Information Tribunal (Enforcement Appeals) Rules 2005

Section 29:
1) In any appeal before the Tribunal, including one withdrawn under rule 12 above, the Tribunal may make an order awarding costs -

(a) against the appellant and in favour of the Commissioner where it considers that the appeal was manifestly unreasonable;

(b) against the Commissioner and in favour of the appellant where it considers that the disputed decision was manifestly unreasonable;

(c) where it considers that a party has been responsible for frivolous, vexatious, improper or unreasonable action, or for any failure to comply with a direction or any delay which with diligence could have been avoided, against that party and in favour of any other.

No costs have yet been awarded by the tribunal.

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