FOIA Section 42 Exemption

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Section 42: Legal Professional Privilege

Section 42 applies to information that would be subject to legal professional privilege if litigation were in progress. Legal professional privilege covers confidential communications between lawyers and clients and certain other information that is created for the purposes of litigation. Section 42 ensures that the confidential relationship between lawyer and client is protected.

Key points:

  • Whether information is subject to legal professional privilege is a question of law and it will very often be necessary to consult legal advisers in connection with this;
  • Advice from the Law Officers is also governed by section 35 and the Law Officers should be consulted where their advice is the subject of a request;
  • Section 42 is subject to a public interest balance. But, given the very substantial public interest in maintaining the confidentiality of legally professionally privileged material, it is likely to only be in exceptional circumstances that this will be outweighed by the public interest in disclosure.

What the law says

42 Legal professional privilege

(1) Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege or, in Scotland, to confidentiality of communications could be maintained in legal proceedings is exempt information.
(2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would involve the disclosure of any information (whether or not already recorded) in respect of which such a claim could be maintained in legal proceedings.

ICO Lines To Take

Relevant Lines to Take
  • LTT5 - Legal professional privilege under EIR - 18/01/2011
  • LTT15 - Public interest in legal professional privilege - 30/04/2010
  • LTT113 - Definition of Legal Professional Privilege - 19/08/2008
  • LTT6 - Waiver of legal professional privilege - part 1 of 2 / Partial disclosure only to apply within litigation - 25/06/2008
  • LTT111 - Waiver of legal professional privilege – part 2 of 2 / Description of partial waiver - 25/06/2008
  • LTT107 - No prejudice / adverse effect test for class based exemptions / exceptions - 20/06/2008


Decision Notices

Complaints upheld / partly upheld (P) Complaints not upheld
  • FS50219758(P) - Home Office - 23/02/2010
  • FS50218090 - Swanage Town Council - 26/01/2010
  • FS50173585 - Cabinet Office - 22/12/2009
  • FS50245725(P) - HM Treasury - 15/12/2009
  • FS50078412(P) - Scotland Office - 20/10/2009
  • FS50184898(P) - Charity Commission - 13/10/2009
  • FS50238030 - Durham County Council - 05/10/2009
  • FER0157856(P) - London Borough of Camden - 24/09/2009
  • FS50209611 - The Highways Agency - 16/07/2009
  • FS50121803(P) - Ministry of Justice - 14/04/2009
  • FS50160256(P) - Department for Culture, Media and Sport - 06/04/2009
  • FS50146033 - Vehicle and Operator Services Agency - 23/10/2008
  • FS50127256 - Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service - 14/10/2008
  • FS50105478 - Chief Constable of Cumbria Constabulary - 20/02/2008
  • FS50121684 - Department for Culture, Media and Sport - 03/12/2007
  • FS50135538(P) - Home Office - 26/11/2007
  • FS50085508 - University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust - 30/08/2007
  • FS50093501(P) - Home Office - 30/08/2007
  • FS50120007 - Foreign and Commonwealth Office - 06/08/2007
  • FS50090383(P) - Vale of Glamorgan Council - 30/07/2007
  • FS50154362 - Transport for London - 25/07/2007
  • FS50075271 - Cranfield University - 23/07/2007
  • FS50131421 - Hearing Aid Council - 23/07/2007
  • FS50098767 - Forest Heath District Council - 02/04/2007
  • FS50092946 - Canterbury City Council - 07/02/2007
  • FS50083791 - National Assembly for Wales - 12/10/2006
  • FS50070234(P) - Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust - 24/08/2006
  • FS50097759 - South Shropshire District Council - 17/08/2006
  • FS50071795 - Department of Trade and Industry - 27/07/2006
  • FS50065043 - Metropolitan Ambulance Service - 31/05/2006
  • FS50241186 - St Neots Town Council - 26/04/2010
  • FS50086426 - Cabinet Office - 31/03/2010
  • FS50225088 - Ministry of Justice - 31/03/2010
  • FS50089369 - Cabinet Office - 31/03/2010
  • FS50121686 - Ministry of Justice - 30/03/2010
  • FS50257485 - HM Treasury - 16/03/2010
  • FS50210858 - Department for Work and Pensions - 10/03/2010
  • FS50144707 - Department for Children, Schools and Families - 01/03/2010
  • FS50246664 - Financial Services Authority - 23/02/2010
  • FS50237293 - Department for Work and Pensions - 02/02/2010
  • FS50209658 - HM Revenue and Customs - 28/01/2010
  • FS50195214 - Attorney General’s Office - 11/01/2010
  • FS50161898 - Department for Communities and Local Government - 21/12/2009
  • FS50263148 - Bolton Council - 02/12/2009
  • FS50129969 - Electoral Commission - 01/12/2009
  • FS50190528 - St. Helens Council - 30/11/2009
  • FS50205855 - Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency - 09/11/2009
  • FS50241934 - Common Council of the City of London - 04/11/2009
  • FS50110034 - Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs - 03/11/2009
  • FS50137246 - Ministry of Defence - 15/10/2009
  • FS50204417 - London Borough of Bromley - 05/10/2009
  • FS50247797 - Brighton and Hove City Council - 09/09/2009
  • FS50132094 - Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - 27/07/2009
  • FS50201819 - Department of Health - 27/07/2009
  • FS50155116 - National Offender Management Service - 22/06/2009
  • FS50192060 - NHS South East Coast - 08/06/2009
  • FS50144200 - Fareham Borough Council - 07/05/2009
  • FS50083102 - Department for Children, Schools and Families - 31/03/2009
  • FS50137675 - Department for Culture, Media and Sport - 05/02/2009
  • FS50175121 - Department of Health - 15/12/2008
  • FS50165511 - Department for Work and Pensions - 29/07/2008
  • FS50093000 - Office of Government Commerce - 14/07/2008
  • FS50098771 - Department for Children, Schools and Families - 29/05/2008
  • FS50137475 - BBC - 19/05/2008
  • FS50155503 - Department for Children, Schools and Families - 29/04/2008
  • FS50105954 - Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs - 09/04/2008
  • FS50146380 - Scotland Office - 04/04/2008
  • FS50101351 - Brightlingsea Town Council - 31/03/2008
  • FS50133293 - Hounslow Primary Care Trust - 17/03/2008
  • FS50119029 - House of Lords Appointments Commission - 12/03/2008
  • FS50172096 - Driving Standards Agency - 11/03/2008
  • FS50107135 - Ministry of Defence - 25/02/2008
  • FS50119370 - Charity Commission - 28/01/2008
  • FS50113234 - Northern Ireland Court Service - 28/01/2008
  • FS50100137 - Law Commission - 16/01/2008
  • FS50082127 - Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform - 08/01/2008
  • FS50108240 - Ministry of Justice - 29/11/2007
  • FS50084349 - Ministry of Justice - 20/11/2007
  • FS50150138 - Financial Services Authority - 19/11/2007
  • FS50100231 - Department for Work and Pensions - 28/09/2007 … further results

Includes DNs up to: 26 April 2010



Freedom of Information Act 2000
Exemptions
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