FOIA Section 43 Exemption

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Section 43: Commercial Interests

Section 43 exempts information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person. It also includes a specific exemption for trade secrets.

Key points:

  • Section 43 protects not only the commercial interests of third parties but also the commercial interests of the public authority that holds the information;
  • Public authorities will need to bear in mind that the commercial sensitivity (particularly the market sensitivity) of information will usually decrease with time;
  • Section 43 is subject to the public interest test.

Official Guidance

What the law says

43 Commercial interests

(1) Information is exempt information if it constitutes a trade secret.
(2) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it).
(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 the interests mentioned in subsection (2).

Decision Notices

Exeter City Council, August 2006
http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/decisionnotices/2006/decision_notice_fs50080412_v2.pdf
The Council was ruled to have invalidly claimed a s43 exemption by refusing to disclose commercial details relating to a land transfer.
Freedom of Information Act 2000
Exemptions
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