From FOIwiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50120007
  • Date: 6 August 2007
  • Public Authority: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Summary: The complainant requested a copy of legal advice obtained by the FCO. The legal advice concerned the issue of whether the UK Government had discharged any duty of care it owed as trustee of the Southern Rhodesia Widows’ Pension Fund when it handed over the colony of Southern Rhodesia to the Government of Zimbabwe. The FCO claimed that it was exempt from disclosure as section 42 of the Act, which relates to legal professional privilege, was engaged. The FCO further argued that the public interest favoured maintaining the exemption. The Commissioner investigated the FCO’s application of section 42 and found that the information requested is legal advice, but that privilege was waived when the FCO disclosed large parts of the advice to the complainant and others. The Commissioner’s decision is that the exemption is not engaged, and requires the FCO to disclose the requested information in full to the complainant. An appeal was made to the Information Tribunal, who have ruled that the appeal should be allowed and the decision overturned.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]