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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2000 came into force in January 2005 and gives any person legal rights of access to information which is held by a public authority. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for freedom of information policy in the UK.

If you are a member of the public seeking guidance on how to submit a freedom of information request please go to the Gov.uk website (see link in right-hand column).

Main features of the legislation:

  • The Act provides a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities. This right is subject to certain exemptions most of which require case by case consideration of the balance of public interest.
  • The Act applies to all public authorities. Schedule 1 of the Act gives more details of organisations covered. Within the MOD, only the Special Forces and military units providing assistance to the Government Communications HQ are outside the Act.

Copyright and the FOI Site

Supply of information under the Freedom of Information Act does not give the person or organisation the automatic right to reuse the documents in a way which will infringe copyright, for example, by making multiple copies, publishing or issuing to the public. This includes information requested for re-use purposes.

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