Mr F and Carlow County Council

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeStephen Rafferty Senior Investigator
Judgment Date24 August 2015
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the decision of the Council.
Record Number150140
RespondentCarlow County Council
Whether the Council was justified in refusing the applicant's request for records relating to a certain planning matter on the ground that the request forms part of a pattern of manifestly unreasonable requests Conducted in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act by Stephen Rafferty, Senior Investigator, who is authorised by the Information Commissioner to conduct this review Background

The applicant submitted a request to the Council in December 2014 for a broad range of records relating to a planning matter. While the request was set out under seven separate headings described as items A to G, the request specified 28 records or categories of records that were sought. By letter dated 12 February 2015, the Council refused the request under section 15(1)(g) of the FOI Act. The applicant sought an internal review of this decision by letter dated 18 February 2015. In its internal review decision, the Council refused the request under section 15(1)(g) on the ground that it forms part of a pattern of manifestly unreasonable requests from the same requester. The applicant applied to this Office for a review of that decision on 8 May 2015.

During the course of the review, Mr. Christopher Campbell of this Office invited both the applicant and the Council to make submissions on the matter. Having received submissions from both parties, I consider that this review should now be brought to a close by means of a formal binding decision. In conducting this review I have had regard to the submissions of both parties, to the further correspondence between this Office and the Council and to correspondence between the Council and the applicant in relation to the FOI request.

Scope of Review

This review is solely concerned with the question of whether the Council was justified in its decision to refuse the applicant's request under section 15(1)(g) of the FOI Act on the ground that the request forms part of a pattern of manifestly unreasonable requests from the same requester.

Analysis and Findings

A request may be refused under section 15(1)(g) if the public body considers that the request is frivolous or vexatious or forms part of a pattern of manifestly unreasonable requests from the same requester. It is relevant to note that section 13(4) of the FOI Act allows a public body to take into account the motive of a requester when considering if section 15(1)(g) applies.

In case Nos. 110102 & 110198 (available on this Office's website at www.oic.gov.ie), this...

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