New Judgment: South Lanarkshire Council v Scottish Information Commissioner  UKSC 55
29 Monday Jul 2013
On appeal from  CSIH 30.
Concerns a request for information about the number (but not the identity) of the Council’s employees in a particular post at particular points on its pay scales. The Information Commissioner ordered disclosure, and the Council appealed, inter alia, on grounds that the Commissioner acted in breach of natural justice by failing to disclose to the Council certain communications sought and received by him in the course of his investigation. Held: condition 6 in Sch 2 to the Data Protection Act 1998 was satisfied as disclosure was “necessary” for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the requester. It was well established in community law that, in the context of justification, “necessary” meant “reasonably” rather than absolutely or strictly necessary. It formed part of the proportionality test and any measure which interfered with a right protected by community law must be the least restrictive for the achievement of a legitimate aim. The Commissioner, in applying a proportionality approach to the meaning of necessary in condition 6, had adopted a test which was probably more favourable to the Council than was required and certainly no less favourable.