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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50227049
  • Date: 23 March 2010
  • Public Authority: Attorney General’s Office
  • Summary: The complainant made a freedom of information request to the Attorney General’s Office for (i) any assessment about how the economic downturn would effect the department which was supplied to Downing Street; and (ii) details of any legal advice on government liability for the death of Dr David Kelly. In response the public authority refused to confirm or deny if the requested information was held by relying on the exemptions in section 35(3) (Exclusion from duty to confirm or deny) read with section 35(1)(a) (Formulation and development of government policy) and section 35(3) read with section 35(1)(c) (Law Officers’ advice). During the course of the Commissioner’s investigation the public authority confirmed that it held no information falling within the scope of the first part of the request and therefore the Commissioner considered this element of the complaint to have been informally resolved. For the second part of the request the Commissioner decided that the information, if held, would fall within the scope of section 35(1)(c) and that the public interest in maintaining the exclusion of the duty to confirm or deny outweighs the public interest in disclosing whether or not the information is held. The Commissioner also found that in its handling of the request the public authority breached section 17(1) (Refusal of request) but requires no steps to be taken.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: .pdf