Poland – Information Released
||Information did not fall under FOI Act
||File ref. no. II SAB/Wa 108/14 of 13 May 2014 (Judgment of the Voivodship Administrative Court in Warsaw)
||Minutes of meeting
Background of case:
A citizen requested for access to the minutes of meetings (in the form of recordings) held between the government and Catholic Church representatives concerning consultations on various draft laws. The Minister of Administration and Digitization, who was the host of the meeting, denied access claiming that the recordings constitute a working, internal document.
Decision of Court:
The Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw did not agree with such a position and decided that:
“The information requested by the claimant concerning Joint Commission sessions, both in the form of minutes and draft documents or electronic records, meets the criteria of being classified as public information as it concerns the performance of public tasks by a public administration authority (the Minister of Administration and Digitization) by documenting the authority’s public activity.”
United Kingdom – Information Partially Released
Background of case:
Friends of the Earth asked for what meetings and correspondence there have been between Ministers and/or senior civil servants and employees from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) one of whose main aims is to lobby government on behalf of its members. On 26 July 2005 the DTI provided some information but refused to supply other information held on the basis it was exempt under Sections 35 (policy formulation), but also 36 (prejudice to the conduct of public affairs) and 41 (confidential information) and Section 40 (Personal Data) of the UK FOI Act.
This is a particularly important case in the history of the UK FOI Act due to its relatively early arrival at the Tribunal level; it is one of the first cases to discuss lobbying and the effects of lobbying in detail and the depth to which the balancing of the public interest test was considered.
Due to the wide ranging nature of section 35, being interpreted broadly as anything that ‘relates to’ policy, and the Tribunal agreeing with the DTI’s reliance on the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA)’s guidance which states “a suggestion or advice received from a third party in the course of policy development will be covered by the exemption”, the case was not based on whether or not the information was subject to section 35 but on the balancing of the public interest test.