First test for the public interest test

The Guardian has filed an information request for the advice given by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, on the legality of the invasion of Iraq.

The newspaper previously tried to obtain the files under the government access code but the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, decided that the documents consisted of legal
advice and were therefore totally exempt under the code. However, the new FOI Act, which has superseded the code, allows the UK Information Commissioner to apply a public interest test to determine whether or not the information should in fact be disclosed.

The government is expected to claim that disclosure would "be likely to inhibit the free and frank exchange of views ... or ... would be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs".

Release of Iraq war advice is test for new act: Freedom of information battle looms on legality of action (The Guardian, December 31 2004)