Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

How to appeal an ICO decision: new guidance published

Out-Law News | 01 Feb 2010 | 9:35 am | 1 min. read

The new body which has taken over the power to rule on appeals from decisions of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued guidance on how to conduct an appeal.

Earlier this month the Information Tribunal was abolished and replaced with a branch of the First  Tier Tribunal, which is part of the General Regulatory Chamber. The change was part of a Government policy to centralise tribunal activity.

Appeals from notices of the ICO on complaints about the Data Protection and Freedom of Information (FOI) Acts are now heard by the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights).

It has published general guidance and notices to help people take action through it.

"If you disagree with a notice you have received from the Information Commissioner, you can appeal to the First–tier Tribunal (Information Rights). Please note that we do not deal with complaints against the Information Commissioner," it said. 

"You should send your Notice of Appeal to us within 28 days of the date of the Commissioner´s notice," said the Tribunal. "If you wish to submit an appeal outside of this time limit, you can do so, but you must provide good reasons for the delay – there is a section in the appeal form to help you with this."

The material published by theTribunal includes explanatory notes to the appeal forms; information on how the Tribunal will treat confidential information; and a guide for people who  are representing themselves in their case.

Legal aid is not available for Tribunal cases, but it said that the process is designed to be usable by unrepresented individuals.

"Unlike courts, most tribunals question the user to find out relevant information rather than relying on the user to present an argument. This means that users of tribunals should be able to present evidence by themselves, and for this reason legal representation should be unnecessary," it said.

The Tribunal has published guidance to what happens before and during the hearing, as well as information on its decisions.

Appeals from the First-tier Tribunal are heard by the Upper Tribunal. Some cases will be heard by the Upper Tribunal in the first place. Appeals from the Upper Tribunal will be heard by the Court of Appeal.

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