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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50223362
  • Date: 28 September 2009
  • Public Authority: London Borough of Barnet
  • Summary: The complainant requested copies of the instructions to counsel and the corresponding legal opinion obtained by the London Borough of Barnet Council (‘the Council’) in regards to its decision to rescind a deed of agreement and the associated restrictive covenant. The Council refused the request pursuant to section 42(1) of the Freedom of Information Act (‘the Act’), claiming that the public interest favoured maintaining the legal professional privilege exemption. However, the Commissioner has found that the withheld information should have been considered under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (‘EIR’). As a result, the Commissioner considers that the Council breached regulation 14(3) in failing to provide a refusal notice in accordance with the EIR. Nevertheless, in transferring the relevant arguments over to the EIR, the Commissioner has determined that the information does attract legal professional privilege and that the public interest favours maintaining the exception provided by regulation 12(5)(b).
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]