Freedom of Information Act 2014

12.

Requests for access to records

12. (1) A person who wishes to exercise the right of access shall make a request, in writing or in such other form as may be determined, addressed to the head of the FOI body concerned for access to the record concerned—

(a) stating that the request is made under this Act,

(b) containing sufficient particulars in relation to the information concerned to enable the record to be identified by the taking of reasonable steps, and

(c) if the person requires such access to be given in a particular form or manner (being a form or manner referred to in section 17 ), specifying the form or manner of access.

(2) The head shall cause the receipt by him or her of a request under subsection (1) to be notified, in writing or in such other form as may be determined, to the requester concerned as soon as may be but not later than 2 weeks after such receipt, and the notification shall include a summary of the provisions of section 19 and particulars of the rights of review under this Act, the procedure governing the exercise of those rights, and the time limits governing such exercise, in a case to which that section applies.

(3) Where a request under this section is received by the head of an FOI body (“head”) and the record or records concerned are not held by the body (“the first-mentioned body”) but, to the knowledge of the head, are held by one or more other FOI bodies, the head shall, as soon as may be, but not more than 2 weeks, after the receipt of the request, cause a copy of the request to be given to the head of the other body or, as the case may be, to the head of that one of the other bodies—

(a) whose functions are, in the opinion of the head, most closely related to the subject matter of the records concerned, or

(b) that, in the opinion of the head, is otherwise most appropriate,

and inform the requester concerned, by notice in writing or in such other form as may be determined, of his or her having done so and thereupon—

(i) the head to whom the copy aforesaid is furnished shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Act, to have received the request under this section and to have received it at the time of the receipt by him or her of the copy, and

(ii) the head shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Act, not to have received the request.

(4) Where a request under this section relating to more than one record is received by the head of an FOI body (“the first-mentioned body”) and one or more than one (but not all) of the records concerned is or are held by the body, the head shall inform the requester concerned, by notice in writing or in such other form as may be determined, of the names of any other FOI body that, to his or her knowledge, holds any of the records.

(5) A person shall be deemed to have the knowledge referred to in subsections (3) and (4) if, by the taking of reasonable steps, he or she could obtain that knowledge.

(6) Where—

(a) a person makes a request for information, or a request for access to a record, to an FOI body or to a head or a director, or member of the staff, of an FOI body, other than under and in accordance with this Act, and

(b) it is not or may not be possible to give the information, or make available the record, other than pursuant to an FOI request in relation to it under and in accordance with this section,

the head shall, if appropriate, cause the person to be informed of the right of access and shall assist, or offer to assist, the person in the preparation of such a request.

(7) Where a person makes a request under this section, the FOI body may, having examined the request, advise the requester in writing or such other form as may be determined whether the records concerned may be accessed under—

(a) the European Communities (Re-use of Public Sector Information) Regulations 2005 ( S.I. No. 279 of 2005), or

(b) the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 ( S.I. No. 133 of 2007),

instead of under this Act.

(8) A person who makes a request under subsection (1) may, at any time before the making of a decision under section 13(1) in relation to the request, by notice in writing or in such other form as may be determined, given to the head concerned, withdraw the request and the head concerned shall cause notice of the withdrawal to be given to any other person to whom, in the opinion of the head, it should be given.