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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50100127
  • Date: 9 July 2007
  • Public Authority: British Waterways Marinas Ltd
  • Summary: The complainant requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the “Act”) a copy of an objection that had been made to him operating a sailing school from a marina owned and operated by the public authority. The public authority refused to disclose this information, stating that this was due to “commercial confidentiality”. At the start of the investigation the Commissioner established that British Waterways Marinas Ltd was a publicly-owned company, as defined by section 6(1)(b) of the Act, and was therefore a public authority for the purposes of the Act. During the investigation the public authority confirmed to the Commissioner that it believed the disclosure of this information would be a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). After investigating the complaint the Commissioner was satisfied that the complainant was a sole trader, and that the information in question formed part of his personal data. Therefore the Commissioner decided that the information was exempt from disclosure under section 40(1) of the Act but that the public authority should have treated the request as a subject access request under section 7 of the DPA. The Commissioner also concluded that the public authority breached the requirements of section 17 of the Act by failing to issue an adequate refusal notice.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]