Information Rights and Wrongs Alternative Honours List

Martin Hoskins muses today on why – apart from those who’ve worked for the Information Commissioner’s Office – no data protection professionals have ever received royal honours. I can certainly think of a few information rights people whose selflessness and length of practice deserve recognition – Dr Chris Pounder, for instance, whose career in data protection spans five decades, or Maurice Frankel, without whom we might not even have an FOI Act. But, given that there’s little chance of this happening, I am today announcing an alternative

Information Rights and Wrongs Birthday Honours List

First up…

For services to the DfE, the Financial Times’ Chris Cook. Without Chris’s sterling efforts we would have little understanding of the devotion to the cause of ministers and SpAds at the Department for Education. Chris revealed that, such was this devotion, they spend much of their time and resources using their own home email accounts to do government work.

For services to public authorities in general, Alan M Dransfield, whose FOI campaigns mean there is now much greater clarity about how and when to treat FOI requests as vexatious.

For apparent defiance of in the face of the law, Jim Shannon MP, who – as well as holding the title of least sexy MP – does not appear to have been registered with the Information Commissioner for at least three years, despite the fact that processing personal data without a registration is a criminal offence (unless there is an exemption).

For donations to the legal profession Brighton and Sussex University Hospital Trust, who paid lawyers £178,000 in fees seeking to challenge an Information Commissioner monetary penalty, before withdrawing their appeal before it went to a hearing.

But there is one candidate which stands out above all others. A group honour, because no single individual could have (not) achieved all that they have (not) achieved. They are the inspiration behind a great new website, and they are the winner of the highest accolade, the Information Rights and Wrongs Arcana Imperii honour…

my_medal(1)

For sheer jaw-dropping contempt of the law, the Cabinet Office, who have decided to dispense with the need to observe the FOI Act. They are an inspiration for all of us and for as long as no effective enforcement is taken to ensure compliance, they will continue to be the shining beacon for all public authorities.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Information Rights and Wrongs Alternative Honours List

  1. Alan M Dransfield

    I am V honoured that you have consideed me for your “ALTERNATIVE HONOURS LIST”.
    As winter draws on the Kniighthood will keep my ears warm.
    However, I must correct your comments of the NEW ICO Guidelines ref VEXATIOUS REQUESTS dated May this year.
    I consider the new 37 Page ICO Guideline for PA ref vexatious decsions from the General Public is in fact, CONTEMPT OF COURT because they refer to the Dransfield Case at least a Dozen times in GIA/3037/2013.
    It is consistently obvious the ICO are unaware of the Common Law “STARE DECISIS”
    The GIA /3037/2013 has been UNLAWFULLY cited as a Court Authority whilst STILL ACTIVE and as any 6th Former Lawyer “Wannabe” will confirm to this site that ACTIVE CASES should not and CANNOT be used as a Court Authority.
    In the event the Court of Appeal rule in my Favour on this GIA/3037 case, the ICO will HAVE to revoke DOZENS of VEXATIOUS cases which have been handed out like confetti.
    As for your Honour to Maurice Frankel for deeds to the FOIA, your having a Girrafe,aren’t you.
    He hasn’t lifted a finger to help me on this case which I believe threatens the Integrity of the FOIA 2000.
    When I attend the Court of Appeal (TBC) maybe I could pop round to your office to receive the Honour.
    Once again,I thank you and I am deeply humbled.

    • Hi Alan

      Thanks for your comment, and for taking my lighthearted post in good spirit.

      However, you fundamentally misunderstand the principle of “stare decisis”. What it means is that a decision of a superior court of record (of which the Upper Tribunal is one) is binding authority, unless it is overturned by a higher court. The *effect* of the decision might be put on hold pending any appeal (for instance, a party required to do something by virtue of the judgment might not have to do it until any appeal is resolved), but this does not mean that the findings of the court themselves do not constitute binding authority – they very much do. So the ICO is quite entitled to cite your case as authority underpinnng some of its guidance on vexatious requests. Should you succeed in getting permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal, and should you succeed in overturning the decision of Judge Wikeley then no doubt the ICO will have to amend that guidance. However, it is very wrong to suggest anyone using your case as authority is somehow in contempt of court, and it is remarks like this which run the risk of being seen as defamatory.

  2. Alan M Dransfield

    We agree to disagree on this one. Both the ICO &UT knew I had elevated my GIA/3037 case to the Court of Appeal,hence, it would have been prudent for them to hold back on ANY furher reference to my case. No, they have used the GIA Case over 100 and made up a Bullshit Vexatious Guidelines. They were ALL hell bent

    • Hi Alan

      It’s your prerogative to disagree, of course, but I’m afraid on this you’re simply wrong (ignoring the point about whether it was *prudent* or not to issue the guidance).

      Out of interest, has the Court of Appeal granted permission to appeal to you?

      • Alan M Dransfield

        My application is STILL before the Court of Appeal. One other point of interest is the FTT declared me in CONTEMPT OF COURT in May this year which has just been overturned by the UT and a 5th FTT Retrial Hearing will take place in the spring.
        How much Taxpayers money is being wasted to uphold a VEXATIOUS decision

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