Saying goodbye to the 30- and 50-year rules

Todays Independent leader states:

"With the coming into force of the Freedom of Information Act today, an honoured tradition will pass into history. The so-called 30- and 50-year rules, which allowed for the opening of official papers held at the National Archives, will no longer apply. From now on, there will be no standard period for which official documents are kept closed. The new law provides that official papers will be presumed to be open unless their contents fall within certain defined categories. Content, not time, will henceforth determine confidentiality."

A new year ritual that will be missed (The Independent, 1 January 2005)