Mr X University College Cork

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date30 November 2021
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed UCC's decision.
RespondentUniversity College Cork
Record NumberOIC-111136-N0D5B1
Whether UCC was justified in refusing access to certain records under section 31(1)(a) of the FOI Act

OIC-111136-N0D5B1

Background

In a request dated 8 April 2021, the applicant sought access to a copy of the Code of Conduct for UCC staff as well as all records held by UCC relating to him including emails between staff, his student record, and records relating to fees for specific years. In a follow-up email, he named a number of staff members in UCC and in another third level institution who he believed exchanged emails in relation to him.

As UCC did not make a decision within the statutory time-frame of four weeks, the applicant sought an internal review of the deemed refusal of his request on 4 June 2021. On 30 July 2021, UCC issued a decision, apologising to the applicant for the delay. In response to the first part of the FOI request, it provided a link to the Code of Conduct available on the UCC website. It identified 125 records relevant to the second part of the request. Records numbered 1 to 104 were listed in a Schedule as being held by the Office of the Deputy President and Registrar, and the remaining records 105 to 125 were listed in a separate Schedule as being held by the Student Records & Examinations Office. Most of the records were released to the applicant in full, but 21 records were withheld under section 31(1)(a) of the FOI Act. On 3 August 2021, the applicant sought a review by this Office of UCC’s decision to withhold these records.

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 submissions made by UCC and the applicant’s correspondence with this Office and with UCC. I have also examined the records at issue. I have decided to conclude this review by way of a formal, binding decision. In referring to the records at issue, I have adopted the numbering system used by UCC in the schedules of records it prepared when responding to the request.

Scope of Review

In his communications with this Office, the applicant raised questions about fees and about records which he believes are held by a named staff member of another third level institution, Munster Technological University (MTU). Firstly, it is important to note that this Office has no role in the investigation of complaints regarding the manner in which FOI bodies perform their functions generally, or to act as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism with respect to actions taken...

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