Campaign for Freedom of Information publishes article discussing the Information Tribunal's first decisions

The Campaign for Freedom of Information has published an article discussing the Information Tribunal’s first three decisions under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Tribunal deals with appeals against the UK Information Commissioner’s decisions. These three decisions:

• establish that information which an authority has deleted from its computer systems, but which is still held on a back-up system, is covered by the FOI Act. This overturns guidance issued by both the Department for Constitutional Affairs and the Information Commissioner.

• find that the Commissioner had been wrong to allow the Inland Revenue to reject a request which was based on criticism of its performance which the Revenue did not accept. The Tribunal rejected the view that the request was “framed in general and subjective terms” and criticised the investigation of the case.

• rule that transcripts of court proceedings are not exempt under the FOI Act exemption for court records. However, the Tribunal found that the authority had destroyed the transcript in question before the FOI Act came into force in January 2005. The Campaign points out that the applicant had been trying to obtain this transcript since 2002 and says the destruction of such materials is one of the undesirable side effects of records management policies.

The article can be downloaded from:

The Campaign is holding a half day training course on February 28 2006 examining the implications of the Commissioner’s and Tribunal’s decisions. The course will also cover decisions of the Scottish Information Commissioner.