Exemptions summary for Freedom of InformationLast updated: 21 September 2006 12:32
FOI has a number of exemptions that permit public authorities to withhold some or all of the information requested, where a justifiable reason exists.
Absolute Exemptions (if one of these applies the information can be withheld)
Section 21 - Information accessible to applicant by other means
Section 23 - Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters
Section 32 - Court records, etc
Section 34 - Parliamentary privilege
Section 36 - (part) Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs (only applies to information held by House of Commons or House of Lords)
Section 40 - (Part) Personal information (where the applicant is the subject of the information) - or personal data about another person
Section 41 - Information provided in confidence.
Section 44 - Prohibitions on disclosure where a disclosure is prohibited by an enactment or would constitute contempt of court.
Qualified Exemptions where the public interest test applies
Even if one of the exemptions applies, the information must be disclosed unless the public interest in withholding it is greater than the public interest in releasing it.
Section 22 - Information intended for future publication
Section 24 - National security
Section 26 - Defence
Section 27 - International relations
Section 28 - Relations within the United Kingdom
Section 29 - The economy
Section 30 - Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
Section 31 - Law enforcement
Section 33 - Audit Functions
Section 35 - Formulation of government policy, etc
Section 36 - (part) Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs (except information held by the House of Commons or the House of Lords)
Section 37 - Communications with Her Majesty, etc and honours
Section 38 - Health and safety
Section 39 - Environmental information as this can be accessed through the Environmental Information Regulations.
Section 40 - (Part) Personal data where section 10 of the Data Protection Act applies (i.e. likely to cause damage or distress)
Section 42 - Legal professional privilege
Section 43 - Commercial interests