Freedom of Information Regulations, introduced in November 2016, have now been revoked and updated by 2017 Regulations to remove a 'double requirement' for those who can make FOI applications on behalf of deceased persons. We take a look at the scope of the 2017 Regulations.
In November 2016, new Freedom of Information Regulations (the "2016 Regulations") were introduced, providing for those who could make particular Freedom of Information applications on behalf of minors, incapacitated persons and deceased persons, and in what circumstances.
In a previous article published by our Public & Administrative Law team, we noted that the 2016 Regulations contained a surprising, and perhaps unintended, departure from the pre-existing regime concerning applications in relation to, or on behalf of, deceased individuals under section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 ("FOI Act")1. The 2016 Regulations introduced a 'double-requirement' for these applications. This meant that, in addition to being a personal representative or performing a statutory function in relation to the deceased's estate, or being the spouse or next-of-kin, applicants were required to also be a parent or guardian of the deceased individual concerned.
On 17 February 2017, the 2016 Regulations were revoked2 and replaced by the Freedom of Information Act 2014 (Sections 9(6)), 10(6) and 37(8)) Regulations 2017 (the "2017 Regulations"). The 2017 Regulations remove this 'double-requirement'. This means that, as was the case under the pre-existing regime, section 10 applications can now be made in relation to, or on behalf of, deceased individuals by a personal representative or a person performing a statutory function in relation to the deceased's estate, or the spouse or next-of-kin of the deceased individuals concerned.
This is a welcome correction from the Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform. The 2017 Regulations make no other changes to the 2016 Regulations.
1. As detailed in our previous article, section 10 provides for the right to apply for a statement of reasons and underlying fact-finding relating to an "act" of an FOI body, where one is affected by, and has a material interest in, a matter affected by that act.
2. This is without prejudice to the amendment effected by Regulation 11 of the 2016 Regulations.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.