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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50098767
  • Date: 2 April 2007
  • Public Authority: Forest Heath District Council
  • Summary: The complainant requested a copy of legal advice held by the public authority regarding the quorum necessary for a properly constituted meeting of the local Licensing Sub-Committee. The public authority initially declined relying solely upon an exemption under section 42 (“section 42”) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the “Act”) claiming legal professional privilege and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information. Following the Commissioner’s involvement, the public authority also referred to an exemption under section 41 (“section 41”) of the Act stating that the information had been provided in confidence. The Commissioner considers that as the public authority did not itself commission the legal advice and instead obtained it from another public authority, it was wrong to rely upon the section 42 exemption. However, he is satisfied that the public authority was entitled to rely upon the section 41 exemption to withhold the information as the legal advice was shared with it as part of a confidential agreement. An appeal was made to the Information Tribunal but later withdrawn.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]