FOIA Section 26 Exemption
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.
- 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.
- DCA guidance: http://foi.gov.uk/guidance/exguide/sec26/index.htm (archived)
- Ministry of Justice guidance: http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/docs/foi-exemption-s26.pdf
- ICO guidance: Awareness Guidance 10 - the defence exemption (AG10)
What the law says
- (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
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ICO Decision Notices
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Includes DNs up to: 26 April 2010
Equivalent exemptions in other countries
- Australia - Freedom of Information Act 1982 s33
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