Client Story

Renowned university defends its commercial interests

30th August 2022

A world-renowned university received expert legal assistance from Stewart Morrison and Simon Biggin to help it defend its commercial interests. The university had received a Freedom of Information Act request, which sought commercially sensitive information. Our client was cognisant that releasing the information would give an insight into processes that would prejudice its commercial interests.

It claimed exemption under section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). This section exempts information from being disclosed under the FOIA which, if disclosed, would or would be likely to prejudice the client’s commercial interests.

The exemption was challenged by the person that had made the FOIA request, by way of an appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Having been unsuccessful in that appeal, the challenger issued an appeal in the First Tier Tribunal (General Regulation Chamber). Stewart and Simon applied to the First Tier Tribunal for the university to be added as a respondent to the appeal, in order for it to be able to make submissions to support the exemption that it claimed, and subsequently advised and represented the university throughout the proceedings in the First Tier Tribunal.

The tribunal dismissed the appeal brought by the person that had made the FOIA request, and upheld the university’s position that the information was exempt from disclosure under section 43(2) of the FOIA.

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