Mr X and the Defence Forces

JudgeStephen Rafferty Senior Investigator
Judgment Date17 April 2015
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator found that the Defence Forces was justified under section 18(2) of the FOI Act in refusing to issue a statement of reasons to the applicant.
CourtInformation Commission
RespondentDefence Forces
Record Number150028
Whether the Defence Forces was justified in its decision to refuse to provide the applicant with a statement under section 18 of the FOI Act of the reasons for his unsuccessful application for enlistment
Conducted in accordance with section 34(2) of the FOI Act, by Stephen Rafferty, Senior Investigator, who is authorised by the Information Commissioner to conduct this review

In August 2014, the applicant sought from the Defence Forces a statement of reasons under section 18 of the FOI Act as to "how [it] came to the decision on [his] unsuccessful candidacy" in relation to a recruitment competition. On 11 September 2014, the Defence Forces issued its decision, refusing the applicant's request. It appears that the applicant's request was incorrectly treated as a request for records as opposed to a request for a statement of reasons, as the Defence Forces cited section 26(1)(a) of the FOI Act to refuse access to a certain record.

The applicant sought an internal review of this decision by way of letter dated 17 September 2014. The internal reviewer issued his decision on 7 October 2014, upholding the initial decision. On 29 January 2014, the applicant sought a review by this Office of the Defence Forces' decision.

I note that, in correspondence with the applicant, Mr Niall Mulligan of this Office set out his view in relation to the case and offered the applicant an opportunity to make submissions. The applicant has not furnished any submission or further correspondence to this Office. I therefore consider that the review should now be brought to a close by the issue of a formal, binding decision.

In conducting my review, I have had regard to the Defence Forces' decisions on the matter and its communications with this Office, as well as the applicant's communications with this Office and the Defence Forces. I have also had regard to the provisions of the FOI Act.

In the interests of clarity, I should point out that this review was carried out under the provisions of the FOI Acts 1997-2003, notwithstanding the fact that the FOI Act 2014 has now been enacted. The transitional provisions in section 55 of the 2014 Act provide that any action commenced under the 1997 Act but not completed before the commencement of the 2014 Act shall continue to be performed and shall be completed as if the 1997 Act had not been repealed.

Preliminary Matter

In response to the applicant's request,...

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