FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 1997

Fees.

47

47. (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a fee of such amount as may be appropriate having regard to the provisions of this section shall be charged by the public body concerned and paid by the requester concerned to the body in respect of the grant of a request under section 7 .

(2) Subject to the provisions of this section, the amount of a fee under this section shall be equal to—

( a) the estimated cost of the search for and retrieval of the record concerned, and

( b) the estimated cost of any copy of the record made by the public body concerned for the requester concerned,

as determined by the head concerned.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)

( a) the amount of the cost of the search for and retrieval of a record shall be calculated at the rate of such amount per hour as stands prescribed for the time being in respect of the time that was spent, or ought, in the opinion of the head concerned, to have been spent, by each person concerned in carrying out the search and retrieval efficiently, and

( b) the amount of the cost specified in subsection (2)(b) shall not exceed such amount (if any) as stands prescribed for the time being and the determination of that amount shall be in compliance with any provisions standing prescribed for the time being in relation to such determination.

(4) Where the record or records concerned contains or contain only personal information relating to the requester concerned, then, in calculating the amount of the fee under subsection (1)

( a) paragraph (a) of subsection (2) shall be disregarded unless the grant concerned relates to a significant number of records, and

( b) paragraph (b) of that subsection shall be disregarded if, in the opinion of the head concerned, it would not be reasonable, having regard to the means of the requester and the nature of the record concerned, to include the cost specified in that paragraph in the calculation.

(5) A head may reduce the amount of or waive a fee or deposit under subsection (1) or (7) if, in his or her opinion, some or all of the information contained in the record concerned would be of particular assistance to the understanding of an issue of national importance.

(6) A fee shall not be charged under subsection (1) if, in the opinion of the head concerned, the cost of collecting and accounting for the fee together with any other administrative costs incurred by the public body concerned in relation to the fee would exceed the amount of the fee.

F80 [ (6A) ( a ) A fee of such amount (if any) as may be prescribed shall be charged by the public body concerned and paid by the requester or, as the case may be, the applicant, concerned to the body in respect of a request under section 7 or an application under section 14 or 34.

( b ) A fee under this subsection shall be paid at the time of the making of the request or application concerned and, if it is not so paid, the head concerned or, as the case may be, the Commissioner shall refuse to accept the request or application, and it shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Act, not to have been made.

( c ) A fee under this subsection shall not be charged if the record or records concerned contains or contain only personal information relating to the requester or, as the case may be, the applicant.

( d ) Fees of different amounts may be prescribed under paragraph ( a ) in respect of different classes of requester or different classes of applicant.

( e ) Subsection (2) does not apply to a fee under this subsection. ]

(7) Where, in the opinion of the head concerned, the estimated cost, as determined by the head, of the search for and retrieval of a record the subject of a request under section 7 is likely to exceed £40 or such other amount as may stand determined for the time being—

( a) a deposit of such amount as may be determined by the head (not being less than 20 per cent. of such cost) shall be charged by the public body concerned and paid by the requester concerned to the body,

( b) the process of search for and retrieval of the record shall not be commenced by the body until the deposit has been paid, and

( c) the head shall, not later than 2 weeks after the receipt of the request aforesaid, cause a request in writing for payment of the deposit to be given to the requester and the document shall include an estimate of the length of time that the process of searching for and retrieving the record will occupy and a statement that the process will not be begun until the deposit has been paid and that the date on which a decision will be made in relation to the request will be determined by reference to the date of such payment.

(8) In a case to which subsection (7) applies, the head concerned shall, if so requested by the requester concerned—

( a) specify to him or her the amendments (if any) to the request under section 7 concerned that, if made, would have the effect of reducing or eliminating the deposit payable under that subsection, and

( b) if amendments are specified under paragraph (a), make such of them (if any) to the request as the requester may determine.

(9) Where a deposit under subsection (7) is paid, the amount of the fee under subsection (1) payable in respect of the grant of the request under section 7 concerned shall be reduced by the amount of the deposit.

(10) Where a deposit under subsection (7) is paid and, subsequently, the grant of the request under section 7 concerned is refused or is granted in relation to a part only of the record concerned, the amount of the deposit or, if a fee under this section is payable in respect of the grant, so much (if any) of that amount as exceeds the amount of the fee shall be repaid to the requester concerned.

(11) Where a fee or deposit under this section is paid and, subsequently, the fee or deposit is annulled or varied under section 14, 34 or 42 , the amount of the fee or deposit so annulled or, as the case may be, any amount thereof in excess of the amount thereof as so varied shall be repaid to the requester concerned.

(12) Section 8 (1) shall be construed and have effect—

( a) in relation to a case in which a deposit is payable under subsection (7), as if the reference to 4 weeks were a reference to a period consisting of 4 weeks together with the period from the giving of the request under subsection (7) concerned to the requester concerned to the date of the receipt of the deposit,

( b) in relation to a case in which such a deposit is annulled following a review under section 14 or 34 or an appeal under section 42 , as if the reference to 4 weeks were a reference to a period consisting of 4 weeks together with the period from the giving of the request under subsection (7) concerned to the requester concerned to the date of the decision under section 42 or, as the case may be, of the giving to the requester concerned of notice under section 14 or 34 of the decision, and

( c) in relation to a case in which an amendment pursuant to subsection (8) has the effect of eliminating such a deposit, as if the reference to the receipt of a request under that section were a reference to the making of the amendment.

(13) The Public Offices Fees Act, 1879, shall not apply to fees under this section.

Annotations:

Amendments:

F80

Inserted (11.04.2003) by Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act (9/2003), s. 30, commenced on enactment.

Editorial Notes:

E57

Power pursuant to section, s. 3 and s. 34(1)(c) exercised (7.07.2003) by Freedom of Information Act 1997 (Fees) Regulations 2003 (S.I. No. 264 of 2003).

E58

Power pursuant to section and s. 3 exercised (1.05.1998) by Freedom of Information Act, 1997 (Section 47(3) Regulations 1998 (S.I. No. 139 of 1998) as amended (22.12.1998) by Freedom of Information Act, 1997 (Section 47(3)) (Amendment) Regulations 1998 (S.I. No. 522 of 1998).