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How to request information under the Freedom of Information Act

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Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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14 June 2009

It is relatively simple to gain information from public organisations as they are under an obligation to provide certain information.

The first step is to write (an email will suffice) to the public authority concerned including in the written request the following information:

your name

an address where you can be contacted

a description of the information that you want, for example: "please provide the names of the committee members of xxx organisation". This will help the public authority find the information you need.

All public authorities must manage their information in accordance with a publication scheme which describes the "classes" or "kinds" of information held (such as minutes). So the more specific the request the easier it will be to find the information. Public authorities must comply with requests promptly, and should provide the information within 20 working days. If they need more time, they must write and provide information of when they will answer, and why they need more time.

Most requests for information are free. Sometimes however small requests for photocopying and postage are made. If a request is going to cost a lot of money, they can be turned down or the scale asked to be reduced.

The Freedom of Information Act does not place restrictions on how the information may be used but be aware not breach anyone's copyright by reproducing any material received. If any request for information is refused, an internal review by the authority can be requested. If this is still not rectified a request can be made to the independent Information Commissioner.

Jane Coyle is a trainee solicitor at Lawdit and can be contacted at jane.coyle@lawdit.co.uk


About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.



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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-07-05 19:07:04 in Legal Articles

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