Freedom of Information Bill - continued        House of Lords

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  PART II
  EXEMPT INFORMATION
Information accessible to applicant by other means.     20. - (1) Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise than under section 1 is exempt information.
 
      (2) For the purposes of subsection (1)-
 
 
    (a) information may be reasonably accessible to the applicant even though it is accessible only on payment, and
 
    (b) information is to be taken to be reasonably accessible to the applicant if it is information which the public authority or any other person is obliged by or under any enactment to communicate (otherwise than by making the information available for inspection) to members of the public on request, whether free of charge or on payment.
      (3) For the purposes of subsection (1), information which is held by a public authority and does not fall within subsection (2)(b) is not to be regarded as reasonably accessible to the applicant merely because the information is available from the public authority itself on request, unless the information is made available in accordance with the authority's publication scheme and any payment required is specified in, or determined in accordance with, the scheme.
 
Information intended for future publication.     21. - (1) Information is exempt information if-
 
 
    (a) the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not),
 
    (b) the information was already held with a view to such publication at the time when the request for information was made, and
 
    (c) it is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph (a).
      (2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would involve the disclosure of any information (whether or not already recorded) which falls within subsection (1).
 
Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters.     22. - (1) Information held by a public authority is exempt information if it was directly or indirectly supplied to the public authority by, or relates to, any of the bodies specified in subsection (3).
 
      (2) A certificate signed by a Minister of the Crown certifying that the information to which it applies was directly or indirectly supplied by, or relates to, any of the bodies specified in subsection (3) shall, subject to section 59, be conclusive evidence of that fact.
 
      (3) The bodies referred to in subsections (1) and (2) are-
 
 
    (a) the Security Service,
 
    (b) the Secret Intelligence Service,
 
    (c) the Government Communications Headquarters,
 
    (d) the special forces,
 
    (e) the Tribunal established under section 7 of the Interception of Communications Act 1985,
 
    (f) the Tribunal established under section 5 of the Security Service Act 1989,
 
    (g) the Tribunal established under section 9 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994,
 
    (h) the Security Vetting Appeals Panel,
 
    (i) the Security Commission,
 
    (j) the National Criminal Intelligence Service, and
 
    (k) the Service Authority for the National Criminal Intelligence Service.
      (4) In subsection (3)(c) "the Government Communications Headquarters" includes any unit or part of a unit of the armed forces of the Crown which is for the time being required by the Secretary of State to assist the Government Communications Headquarters in carrying out its functions.
 
      (5) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would involve the disclosure of any information (whether or not already recorded) which was directly or indirectly supplied to the public authority by, or relates to, any of the bodies specified in subsection (3).
 
National security.     23. - (1) Information which does not fall within section 22(1) is exempt information if exemption from section 1(1)(b) is required for the purpose of safeguarding national security.
 
      (2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, exemption from section 1(1)(a) is required for the purpose of safeguarding national security.
 
      (3) A certificate signed by a Minister of the Crown certifying that exemption from section 1(1)(b), or from section 1(1)(a) and (b), is, or at any time was, required for the purpose of safeguarding national security shall, subject to section 59, be conclusive evidence of that fact.
 
      (4) A certificate under subsection (3) may identify the information to which it applies by means of a general description and may be expressed to have prospective effect.
 
Certificates under ss. 22 and 23: supplementary provisions.     24. - (1) A document purporting to be a certificate under section 22(2) or 23(3) shall be received in evidence and deemed to be such a certificate unless the contrary is proved.
 
      (2) A document which purports to be certified by or on behalf of a Minister of the Crown as a true copy of a certificate issued by that Minister under section 22(2) or 23(3) shall in any legal proceedings be evidence (or, in Scotland, sufficient evidence) of that certificate.
 
      (3) The power conferred by section 22(2) or 23(3) on a Minister of the Crown shall not be exercisable except by a Minister who is a member of the Cabinet or by the Attorney General, the Advocate General for Scotland or the Attorney General for Northern Ireland.
 
Defence.     25. - (1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice-
 
 
    (a) the defence of the British Islands or of any colony, or
 
    (b) the capability, effectiveness or security of any relevant forces.
      (2) In subsection (1)(b) "relevant forces" means-
 
 
    (a) the armed forces of the Crown, and
 
    (b) any forces co-operating with those forces,
       or any part of any of those forces.
 
      (3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1).
 
International relations.     26. - (1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice-
 
 
    (a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other State,
 
    (b) relations between the United Kingdom and any international organisation or international court,
 
    (c) the interests of the United Kingdom abroad, or
 
    (d) the promotion or protection by the United Kingdom of its interests abroad.
      (2) Information is also exempt information if it is confidential information obtained from a State other than the United Kingdom or from an international organisation or international court.
 
      (3) For the purposes of this section, any information obtained from a State, organisation or court is confidential at any time while the terms on which it was obtained require it to be held in confidence or while the circumstances in which it was obtained make it reasonable for the State, organisation or court to expect that it will be so held.
 
      (4) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a)-
 
 
    (a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1), or
 
    (b) would involve the disclosure of any information (whether or not already recorded) which is confidential information obtained from a State other than the United Kingdom or from an international organisation or international court.
      (5) In this section-
 
 
    "international court" means any international court which is not an international organisation and which is established-
 
      (a) by a resolution of an international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member, or
 
      (b) by an international agreement to which the United Kingdom is a party;
 
    "international organisation" means any international organisation whose members include any two or more States, or any organ of such an organisation;
 
    "State" includes the government of any State and any organ of its government, and references to a State other than the United Kingdom include references to any territory outside the United Kingdom.
Relations within the United Kingdom.     27. - (1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice, relations between any administration in the United Kingdom and any other such administration.
 
      (2) In subsection (1) "administration in the United Kingdom" means-
 
 
    (a) the government of the United Kingdom,
 
    (b) the Scottish Administration,
 
    (c) the Executive Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly, or
 
    (d) the National Assembly for Wales.
      (3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1).
 
 
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Prepared 26 October 2000