Difference between revisions of "FOIA Section 24 Exemption"

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Section 24: National Security

Section 24 applies to information whose exemption from the right of access is required for the purpose of safeguarding national security: in order to apply section 24, it will be necessary to decide whether any harm to national security might result from its disclosure.

Key points:

  • In some circumstances it may be necessary to rely on both section 23 and section 24 in order to refuse to confirm or deny whether information is held in order to fully protect the important public interests concerned;
  • When considering section 24, departments should be alive to the need to consult the departmental security officer or other interested parties.
  • Section 24 is subject to a public interest balance.
  • A ministerial certification procedure exists where it becomes necessary to rely on this exemption.

Full DCA guidance: http://www.dca.gov.uk/foi/guidance/exguide/sec24/index.htm

What the law says

24 National security

(1) Information which does not fall within section 23(1) is exempt information if exemption from section 1(1)(b) is required for the purpose of safeguarding national security.
(2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, exemption from section 1(1)(a) is required for the purpose of safeguarding national security.
(3) A certificate signed by a Minister of the Crown certifying that exemption from section 1(1)(b), or from section 1(1)(a) and (b), is, or at any time was, required for the purpose of safeguarding national security shall, subject to section 60, be conclusive evidence of that fact.
(4) A certificate under subsection (3) may identify the information to which it applies by means of a general description and may be expressed to have prospective effect.

Decision Notices

  • 11/07/2006 - FS50086063 - Cabinet Office - Complaint Upheld
  • 27/02/2007 - FS50074788 - Northern Ireland Office - Complaint Not upheld
  • 19/11/2007 - FS50101728 - Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Complaint Not upheld
  • 28/02/2008 - FS50102023 - Cabinet Office - Complaint Not upheld
  • 12/05/2008 - FS50090742 - Cabinet Office - Complaint Not upheld