Mr X and the National Archives

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeStephen Rafferty Senior Investigator
Judgment Date20 March 2015
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator found that the effect of section 46(2) of the FOI Act is that section 17 of the FOI Act does not apply to the records at issue. He varied the Archives' decision.
RespondentNational Archives
Record Number150015
Whether the Archives was justified in its decision to refuse to amend records, pursuant to section 17 of the FOI Act 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 Background

On 4 October 2014, the applicant submitted a request to the Archives seeking the amendment of certain records under section 17 of the FOI Act. On 18 December 2014, having on three occasions sought clarification from the applicant in relation to his request, the Archives issued its decision, refusing the applicant's request.

The applicant sought an internal review of this decision by way of email dated 18 December 2014. The Archives' internal reviewer issued his decision on 12 January 2014, upholding the initial decision. On 16 January 2014, the applicant sought a review by this Office of the Archives' 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 a further opportunity to make submissions. The applicant indicated that he did not accept Mr Mulligan's analysis and offered further submissions. 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 Archives decision on the matter and its communications with this Office, as well as the applicant's communications with this Office and the Archives. 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the commencement of the 2014 Act shall continue to be performed and shall be completed as if the 1997 Act had not been repealed.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

The Archives refused the applicant's request on the basis that he had not provided sufficient information to support his request for amendment, as is required under section 17(2) of the FOI Act. Having considered the applicant's request and his correspondence with the Archives on foot of his request, it appears to me that this request was not set out with sufficient specificity so as to allow the Archives to be...

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