Procedural traps in relation to FOI requests
Produced in partnership with Amber Lewis of Pitmans

The following Public Law practice note produced in partnership with Amber Lewis of Pitmans provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Procedural traps in relation to FOI requests
  • Requirements for a valid FOI request
  • Duty to disclose information held by public authorities
  • Time limits for responding to a FOI request
  • Means by which the communication is to be made
  • Charging a fee for responding to a FOI request
  • Vexatious or repeated requests
  • Requests for information constituting personal data
  • Refusing requests
  • Duty to provide advice and assistance
  • 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?

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FIA 2000) creates a public right of access to information that is held by public authorities including government departments, local institutions, educational institutions, publicly owned companies and other public bodies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Any person, including companies and foreign nationals, can request access to any information held by public authorities.

This Practice Note considers some of the most common procedural traps and issues that public authorities may face in relation to freedom of information requests (FOI requests).

Requirements for a valid FOI request

How much information needs to be included in an FOI request? According to FIA 2000, s 8, the information request must:

  1. be in writing

  2. give the requester’s name and contact address, and

  3. describe the information being requested

The written requirement is widely construed by the ICO. It was decided in the ICO

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