Make an FOI request - Exemptions

There are 23 exemptions from the general rights of access.

For example:

  • Certain information relating to national security, information that would prejudice international relations, commercially sensitive information, confidential information.
  • Environmental Information can be accessed through the Environmental Information Regulations.
  • If you wish to access information about yourself you should use your rights under the Data Protection Act.  Personal data about other people cannot be released if to do so would breach the Data Protection Act.  Exemptions that do not have a public interest test as known as absolute exemptions.
  • If you already have reasonable access to the information you want then you should use that means.  Therefore if information is available through a publication scheme the public authority can simply direct you to its scheme.
  • Some of the exemptions require the public authority to consider whether it is in the public interest to withhold information.
  • Consideration of the public interest may take longer than the 20 days normally allowed for responding to requests.
  • In these cases the public authority must give you an estimate of when it will have reached a decision on where the public interest lies within 20 days of receiving the request.



Last Updated on Tuesday, November 14, 2017