FOIA Section 21 Exemption
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Section 21: Information Accessible By Other Means
|Section 21 applies to information that is already reasonably accessible to the applicant. It recognises that the right of access under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is supplementary to the very many ways in which public authorities already provide information to members of the public. For example, section 21 will apply if information is included on a public authority's publication scheme or if the public authority is under a statutory obligation to give out the information to members of the public on request.
- Updated MoJ Guidance: Detailed Section 21 Exemption Guidance
- ICO Guidance: Guidance explaining how public authorities should apply the exemption in section 21 of FOIA
- ICO Guidance: Awareness guidance 6 - information reasonably accessible by the applicants
- DCA Guidance: Detailed Section 21 Exemption Guidance (superceded by MoJ Guidance)
What the law says
21 Information accessible to applicant by other means
- (1) Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise than under section 1 is exempt information.
- (2) For the purposes of subsection (1)—
- (a) information may be reasonably accessible to the applicant even though it is accessible only on payment, and
- (b) information is to be taken to be reasonably accessible to the applicant if it is information which the public authority or any other person is obliged by or under any enactment to communicate (otherwise than by making the information available for inspection) to members of the public on request, whether free of charge or on payment.
- (3) For the purposes of subsection (1), information which is held by a public authority and does not fall within subsection (2)(b) is not to be regarded as reasonably accessible to the applicant merely because the information is available from the public authority itself on request, unless the information is made available in accordance with the authority’s publication scheme and any payment required is specified in, or determined in accordance with, the scheme.
ICO Lines To Take
|Relevant Lines to Take|
Related Information Commissioner / Information Tribunal Decision notices
FS50140361: Information not reasonably accessible where it was a newspaper article whose title was not known to the applicant.
|Complaints upheld / partly upheld (P)||Complaints not upheld|
Includes DNs up to: 26 April 2010
- How to Beat the Section 21 Exemption from Confirm-or-Deny
- FOI Man's post on S21 from their Exemption Index series
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