LTT181 - Information / Documents post-dating an investigation

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  • FOI/EIR: FOI
  • Section/Regulation: s30
  • Issue: Information / Documents post-dating an investigation
  • Related Lines to Take: LTT19, LTT20, LTT67, LTT100
  • Related Documents: EA/2009/0081
  • Source: Information Tribunal
  • Details: Chief Constable of Surrey Police (8 July 2010)
  • Contact: VA
  • Date: 07/09/2010
  • Policy Reference: LTT181
  • © Copyright Information Commissioner's Office, re-used with permission
  • Original source linked from here: LTT


Line to take

Information created after the completion of an investigation will not, in general, engage the exemption in s30 FOIA. However documents created after the completion of an investigation may do so, to the extent that they contain information previously held for the purpose of the investigation. It is therefore important not only to consider the date of the document but also the content of the information within it in the particular circumstances of the case.


Further Information

Section 30(1) applies to:

"information held by a public authority...if it has at any time been held by the authority for the purposes of -
(a) any investigation which the public authority has a duty to conduct with a view to it being ascertained
(i) whether a person should be charged with an offence, or
(ii) whether a person charged with an offence is guilty of it.

In Chief Constable of Surrey Police v ICO the appellant argued that s30(1)(a) applied to the information requested, despite the fact that the investigation to which it referred had been completed. The Information Tribunal ruled that: "by definition given the terms of the request the information is generated later. There is simply no ground for any justified reliance on section 30".

The Commissioner's view is that there will, however, be cases where documents created after the completion of an investigation could still be covered, at least partially, by s30. For instance, a document created after the completion of an investigation may still contain or repeat information that was previously held for the purposes of the investigation. That information could still be exempt under s30. When considering the application of s30 to documents which postdate an investigation, it is therefore important to consider the content of the information contained within them, within the context of the investigation.