On appeal from: [2011] EWCA Civ 367; [2012] EWCA Civ 317

The appellant is a journalist with The Times newspaper. In 2007 he made a Freedom of Information request to the Charity Commission for information regarding inquiries by the Charity Commission into the ‘Mariam Appeal’, which concerned the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the first Gulf War. The request was refused on the grounds that the information was exempted from being disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, s 32(2). The Information Tribunal overturned this decision and the CA held that the exemption applied.

The Supreme Court had to decide whether s 32(2) constitutes an absolute exemption which continues after the end of an inquiry and whether such an exemption is compatible with ECHR, art 10.

The Supreme Court, dismissing the appellant’s appeal, held that s 32(2) does constitute an absolute exemption from disclosure, which lasts until the information is destroyed or up to 30 years. The rights under the ECHR do not help the appellant as the Charities Act 1993 and case law did not put the appellant in any less favourable position than he would have been in if art 10 did apply. Art 10 does not impose a positive duty of disclosure on public authorities.

For judgment, please download: [2014] UKSC 20
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
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