Line to take - LTT16 - Prejudice to contractual relations

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  • FOI/EIR: FOI
  • Section/Regulation: s43
  • Issue: Prejudice to contractual relations
  • Source: Information Tribunal
  • Details: John Connor Press Associates / National Maritime Museum (25 January 2005)
  • Related Lines to Take: LTT13
  • Related Documents: FS50063478, EA/2005/0005, Awareness Guidance 5, Awareness Guidance 20
  • Contact: EW
  • Date: 29/08/2006
  • Policy Reference: LTT16
  • © Copyright Information Commissioner's Office, re-used with permission
  • Original source linked from here: LTT


Line to take

In considering how likely it is that the commercial interests of a public authority might be prejudiced if information relating to one financial transaction were disclosed to a party in subsequent negotiations with that authority, both the nature of the information and the degree of similarity between the transactions should be taken into account.

Further Information

In the case of John Connor Press Associates Limited v The In formation Commissioner, the Tribunal ruled that the disclosure of financial information relating to the commissioning of artwork by the National Maritime Museum from a named artist would not be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the museum. This judgement overruled the decision of the ICO.

The NMM had refused to disclose the information on the grounds that to do so would by likely to prejudice its bargaining position during contractual information with other artists.

The Tribunal accepted that “the commercial interests of a public authority might be prejudiced if certain information in relation to one transaction were to become available to a counterparty in negotiations on a subsequent transaction.” However, it noted that certain factors should be considered in such cases, stating that whether or not prejudice was likely “would depend on the nature of the information and the degree of similarity between the two transactions.” (para 15)

This should not suggest that these are the only factors that can be taken into account.

In this case, the likelihood of prejudice was not judged to be sufficient because of the nature of the information relating to the negotiations already disclosed, and because the types of work created by the named artist and the artist in subsequent negotiations were so different that they could not be treated as true comparables.