FOIA Section 26 Exemption

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Section 26: Defence

Section 26 applies to information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice:

1. the defence of the British Islands or any colony; or
2. the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces of the Crown or any forces co-operating with them.

In order to determine whether section 23 applies it will be necessary to establish how exactly these defence matters would be prejudiced by disclosure of the information.

Key points:

  • It will often be necessary to consult the Ministry of Defence in order to evaluate how and to what extent defence matters would be prejudiced by disclosure;
  • Section 26 is subject to a public interest balance.

Official guidance

What the law says

26 Defence

(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice—
(a) the defence of the British Islands or of any colony, or
(b) the capability, effectiveness or security of any relevant forces.
(2) In subsection (1)(b) “relevant forces” means—
(a) the armed forces of the Crown, and
(b) any forces co-operating with those forces,
or any part of any of those forces.
(3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1).

ICO Lines To Take

Relevant Lines to Take
  • LTT13 - Prejudice test - 05/01/2009


ICO Decision Notices

Complaints upheld / partly upheld (P) Complaints not upheld
  • FS50089555 - Ministry of Defence - 17/11/2009
  • FS50089556 - Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - 15/10/2009
  • FS50093000 - Office of Government Commerce - 14/07/2008

Includes DNs up to: 26 April 2010


Equivalent exemptions in other countries


Freedom of Information Act 2000
Exemptions
12 21 22 22A 23 24 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44