Freedom of Information Act 2014

24.

Appeal to High Court, etc.

24. (1) A party to an application under section 22 or any other person affected by the decision of the Commissioner following a review under that section may appeal to the High Court—

(a) on a point of law from the decision, or

(b) where the party or person concerned contends that the release of a record concerned would contravene a requirement imposed by European Union law, on a finding of fact set out or inherent in the decision.

(2) The requester concerned or any other person affected by—

(a) the issue of a certificate under section 34 ,

(b) a decision, pursuant to section 13 , to refuse to grant an FOI request in relation to a record the subject of such a certificate, or

(c) a decision, pursuant to section 21 , to refuse to grant, or to uphold a decision to refuse to grant, such a request,

may appeal to the High Court on a point of law against such issue or from such decision.

(3) A person may appeal to the High Court from—

(a) a decision under section 21 , or

(b) a decision specified in any of paragraphs (a) to (g)of subsection (1) of that section (other than such a decision made by a person to whom the function stood delegated under section 20 at the time of the making of the decision),

made by the Commissioner in respect of a record held by the Office of the Commissioner or (in a case where the same person holds the office of Ombudsman and the office of Commissioner) made by the Ombudsman in respect of a record held by the Office of the Ombudsman.

(4) (a) Subject to paragraph (b), an appeal under subsection (1), (2) or (3) shall be initiated not later than 4 weeks after notice of the decision concerned was given to the person bringing the appeal.

(b) Where the Commissioner has decided that access should be granted to some records (including parts of records) but not all records requested—

(i) the requester shall have 8 weeks after the date of the notification of the decision concerned to initiate an appeal to the High Court under this section, and

(ii) the public body concerned shall grant access to those records that it intends to release after expiration of 4 weeks from the decision of the Commissioner.

(5) A decision of the High Court following an appeal under subsection (1), (2) or (3) shall, where appropriate, specify the period within which effect shall be given to the decision.

(6) The Commissioner may refer any question of law arising in a review under section 22 to the High Court for determination, and the Commissioner may postpone the making of a decision following the review until such time as he or she considers convenient after the determination of the High Court.

(7) (a) Where an appeal under subsection (1), (2) or (3) by a person (other than a head) is dismissed by the High Court, that Court may, if it considers that the point of law concerned was of exceptional public importance, order that some or all of the costs of the person in relation to the appeal be paid by the FOI body concerned.

(b) Where a reference under subsection (6) is heard by the High Court, that Court may order that some or all of the costs of a person (other than a head) in relation to such reference be paid by the FOI body concerned.

(8) Where an appeal to the Supreme Court is taken from a decision of the High Court under this section, that Court may order that some or all of the costs of a person (other than a head) in relation to an appeal to that Court be paid by the FOI body concerned, if it considers that a point of law of exceptional public importance was involved in the appeal and, but for this subsection, that Court would not so order.