Mr & Mrs X and Limerick City and County Council

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeStephen Rafferty Senior Investigator
Judgment Date14 September 2015
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the decision of the Council by finding that the refusal of access to further records by the Council was justified under section 15(1)(a) of the FOI Act.
Record Number150125
RespondentLimerick City & County Council
Whether the Council was justified in refusing to release additional relevant records relating to specified legal proceedings on the ground that no further relevant records are held by it
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

This review has its background in legal proceedings taken by the Council against the applicants that culminated in an order of the Circuit Court dated 14 July 2005 allowing the Council's appeal. The order indicates that the Court consented to the Council recovering its costs and expenses of the appeal from the applicants. The applicants have applied to this Office for a review of decisions taken by the Council in respect of two related FOI requests, details of which are as follows:

Case 150125
The applicants submitted a request to the Council on 20 November 2014 for copies of the documents authorising the Council to collect outstanding legal fees.
Following the Council's decision to release certain records, the applicants submitted a fresh request on 5 January 2015 for "District Court details and judgements of [the applicants] v Limerick County Council from your legal files". In that letter, the applicants made specific reference to the date of 14 July 2005, the date of the Circuit Court order. The Council refused that request on the ground that it had provided all relevant information on foot of the first request. It further stated that it did not hold an actual copy of the judgment on file.

On 20 January 2015 the applicants applied for an internal review of that decision. In their letter, they stated that they were not looking for references to the judgment but rather, were seeking the original court documents from the Circuit Court dated 14 July 2005. In its internal review decision dated 9 February 2015, while the Council indicated that it was upholding the original decision, it provided a copy of the judgment in question that it had procured from the solicitors who had acted for the Council at the time. The applicants applied to this Office for a review of the Council's decision on 24 April 2015.

Case 150213
On 13 May 2015 the applicants submitted a request for a
"copy of Court Order for Circuit Court Limerick dated 14th July 2005 showing case number judgement and amount of costs awarded". By letter dated 12 June 2015, the Council refused the applicants' request under section 15(1)(a) on the ground that the record, as requested, does not exist. It referred to the fact that it had already released a copy of the Circuit Court order and noted that the amount of the costs awarded is not listed on the record.

On 15 June 2015 the applicants applied for an internal review of the Council's decision. By letter dated 6 July 2015, the Council issued an internal review decision affirming its original decision. It...

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