Compliance with a freedom of information request

The following Public Law practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Compliance with a freedom of information request
  • Duty to provide advice and assistance
  • Assessing the validity of a request
  • Timeframe for compliance
  • Effect of charging a fee on the time limit
  • Extending the time limit
  • Establishing whether the information is held
  • Estimating fees
  • Charging fees
  • Where costs do not exceed the appropriate limit
  • More...

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for public law?

This Practice Note focuses on the key points for public authorities to consider when complying with a freedom of information request. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FIA 2000) a public authority has an obligation to respond to a valid request for information made by any person, located anywhere in the world. Upon receipt of a valid request, the authority has a duty to confirm or deny in writing whether it holds the information requested, and if that is the case to communicate that information to the applicant, unless an exemption applies.

Upon receipt of a request, an authority should:

  1. record the date on which the request was received

  2. assess the validity of the request

  3. establish whether information of the description specified in the request is held by the authority

  4. estimate the cost of compliance

  5. consider charging a fee

  6. consider

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