Our team is a leading adviser in Freedom of Information (FOI) and Access to Information on the Environment (AIE). We have been at the forefront of the development of FOI and AIE law since they were introduced.
We advise public bodies and requesters on all aspects of FOI and AIE compliance and implementation, including the proper application of grounds for non-disclosure. We also advise those impacted by FOI and AIE, including commercial entities engaging with public bodies. We frequently advise these entities on the implications of providing information to such bodies voluntarily or by agreement, and on their rights when consulted about disclosure of their information, or in appeals before the Information Commissioner or Commissioner for Environmental Information.
We have also acted in over 50 appeals to the Courts from decisions of the Commissioners, and regularly speak, write, and provide bespoke training on, FOI and AIE.
As a result, we have unrivalled FOI and AIE experience, and are ideally positioned to advise clients on these information-access regimes.
We also advise on all other aspects of information law, including privacy, data protection, confidentiality, privilege and disclosure in litigation, investigations and inquiries.
We advise on the following issues:
- Making and processing FOI requests and applications, including internal reviews
- Appeals to the Information Commissioner and the Courts
- Information-related Policies and Governance, including management and retention of data
- Compliance with the FOI Code of Practice
- Preparation and maintenance of Publication Schemes
Should you wish to find out more about how we can assist you and your business please contact one of the team members listed.
Legal 500, 2016
‘flexible and focused on the client’s needs’
Legal 500, 2015
‘well-tuned into public sector requirements’
Legal 500, 2014
Edward Gleeson’s team includes Niall Michel, who provides ‘an unrivalled level of service’, and Catherine Allen, who has ‘an excellent understanding of the legislation’.
- Successfully argued before the Commissioner for Environmental Information that, unlike the Electricity Supply Board itself, a particular commercial subsidiary of the Board was not a “public authority” under the AIE Regulations. Therefore, a request for environmental information held by the subsidiary did not need to be entertained. The Commissioner’s decision is published here.
- Submitted detailed representations on behalf of a major technology company to a Government Department advocating the non-release of more intrusive information under the Freedom of Information Act than that which had already been published under another statutory disclosure-requirement.
- Advised an international organisation on voluntarily providing to an FOI body an audit report concerning complaints against its Irish branch. Also advised on a subsequent FOI request seeking access to that report, and successfully prevented its release in an appeal before the Information Commissioner.
- Advised a social media company on its submissions to a Government Department, arguing that some of its records, which had previously been provided to the Department, were exempt from release under FOI as they contained confidential, commercially sensitive and personal information, as well as information relating to public safety.
- Represented the Information Commissioner in successfully defending High Court and Court of Appeal proceedings against the Commissioner’s decision concerning a requester’s FOI requests for records relating to himself and his former step-daughter. The Commissioner’s decision was that the public interest in granting the request did not outweigh the public interest in protecting the privacy rights of the individuals (apart from the requester) to whom the information related. The Court of Appeal held that that there was no error of law by the High Court, and that the request for access was motivated by the requester’s own private interests.