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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FAC0069504
  • Date: 5 January 2006
  • Public Authority: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Summary: In January 2005 the complainant requested the names and nationalities of foreign diplomats alleged to have committed serious offences over the previous five years (the FCO had earlier provided the numbers and types of offences). The complainant later withdrew his request for the names of the individuals concerned. The FCO refused to name the countries involved citing the exemption provided by section 27(1) (disclosure of information and another State). The FCO argued that to provide the nationalities of alleged offenders would damage relations between the UK and the countries concerned and could affect their future willingness to cooperate in dealing with such individuals in the future. The FCO said that, unlike minor offences such as parking fines, the expectation of foreign missions was that information about serious crimes which has not been proven would not be published. The Commissioner accepted that section 27(1) was correctly applied to the information sought and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information. However, the Commissioner invited the FCO to review its pre-Freedom of Information policy on the disclosure of such information.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]