Under s.50 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”), any person may apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision on whether a request for information to a public authority has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of Part I of FOIA. Under s.57 of FOIA, the Commissioner’s decision on that complaint may be appealed to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal. Rule 23 of the General Regulatory Chamber’s Procedure Rules requires the Commissioner to provide a formal Response to an appeal within 28 days of the date on which it is sent to him.
In all such appeals received between 24 February 2023 and 30 September 2023, the Tribunal will treat the Commissioner as having made a standing application for the 28-day time limit to be extended to 12 weeks (“the Interim Process”). In each individual appeal the other parties are given the opportunity to make representations on the application to extend time and an individual judicial decision then taken on whether it should be granted.
The Tribunal will continue to give effect to the Interim Process by issuing the attached standard directions in every such appeal. Annexed to those directions are:
- Evidence on behalf of the Information Commissioner dated 7 February 2023;
- The decision by Judge O’Connor, Chamber President, of 15 February 2023 to introduce the Interim Process;
- The Information Commissioner’s application dated 25 April 2023 to extend the end date of the Interim Process, with supporting evidence;
- The decision by Judge Neville of 28 April 2023 to extend the end date of the Interim Process.
Full details of the work of the General Regulatory Chamber, together with its rules, guidance and information, decisions and hearings can be found at the GRC’s homepage.