In its March 2016 report, the Commission recommended the removal of the right to appeal decisions of the Information Commissioner (IC) to the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) from the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Act).
Currently, appeals under the Act are to the IC, FTT, Upper Tribunal, Court of Appeal and then the Supreme Court. The changes would mean that the IC would be the final arbiter of appeals on the substance of requests. The right to appeal the IC’s decision on a point of law would remain.
On 9 November 2016 , the Government said, “this is one of a number of recommendations…being carefully considered”. The Campaign for Freedom of Information is concerned by this and have said :
“The FTT is a vital safeguard against poor decisions from the Information Commissioner…depriving requesters of this right of appeal would seriously weaken the public’s right to know”.
Whether there is a legislative change to the Act to remove this right of appeal remains to be seen.
FOI campaigners attack potential abolition of right to appeal to tribunal Wednesday, 16 November 2016 12:22 The Campaign for Freedom of Information (CFOI) has expressed concern that the Government may be considering abolition of the right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against decisions of the Information Commissioner. The Government’s apparent move stems from a recommendation by the Commission on Freedom of Information, which was chaired by Lord Burns.