Mr K and Department of Foreign Affairs

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date12 Apr 2021
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the decision of the Department. She found that the Department had provided an adequate statement of reasons for the purposes of section 10 of the Act.
Record NumberOIC-100111-Z8K4M0
RespondentDepartment of Foreign Affairs
Whether the statement of reasons supplied by the Department to the applicant as to why it had refused his data subject access requests (access requests) under the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (the GDPR) was sufficient for the purposes of section 10 of the FOI Act

12 April 2021

Background

The applicant made access requests to the Department under the GDPR on 11 September 2019, 15 February 2020, 26 March 2020, 1 May 2020, 13 June 2020 and 29 July 2020 seeking access to his personal data. The Department refused all six requests under Article 12(5) of the GDPR on the basis that they were “manifestly unfounded”.

In an application dated 31 August 2020, the applicant sought a statement of reasons in relation to the Department’s refusal of his data access requests. In a decision dated 25 September 2020, the Department refused his application under section 15(1)(g) of the FOI Act on the basis that his application was vexatious. It noted that the reasons for the refusal of his data subject access requests had been clearly outlined in the response letters provided in respect of each request.

The applicant sought an internal review of that decision on the same day. He contacted this Office on 28 October 2020 as he had not received a reply. Following correspondence with this Office, the Department issued a late internal review decision on 18 November 2020, in which it provided the statement of reasons sought.

On 23 November 2020, the applicant sought a review by this Office of the Department’s decision, on the basis that the statement of reasons provided by the Department was inadequate.

I have now completed my review in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act. In carrying out my review, I have had regard to the correspondence between the applicant and the Department as set out above and to the communications between this Office and both the Department and the applicant on the matter. I have decided to conclude this review by way of a formal, binding decision.

Scope of Review

This review is concerned solely with whether the Department has complied with the requirements of section 10 of the FOI Act in respect of the application for a statement of reasons as to why the Department did not grant the applicant access to the personal data sought under the GDPR.

Preliminary Matters

Investigator’s Views

In his submissions to this Office, the applicant referred to the Investigator’s email of 22 February 2021, wherein she informed the applicant of her...

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