Freedom of Information Bill - continued        House of Lords
PART II, EXEMPT INFORMATION - continued

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The economy.     28. - (1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice-
 
 
    (a) the economic interests of the United Kingdom or of any part of the United Kingdom, or
 
    (b) the financial interests of any administration in the United Kingdom, as defined by section 27(2).
      (2) 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).
 
Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities.     29. - (1) Information held by a public authority is exempt information if it has at any time been held by the authority for the purposes of-
 
 
    (a) any investigation which the public authority has a duty to conduct with a view to it being ascertained-
 
      (i) whether a person should be charged with an offence, or
 
      (ii) whether a person charged with an offence is guilty of it,
 
    (b) any investigation which is conducted by the authority and in the circumstances may lead to a decision by the authority to institute criminal proceedings which the authority has power to conduct, or
 
    (c) any criminal proceedings which the authority has power to conduct.
      (2) Information held by a public authority is exempt information if-
 
 
    (a) it was obtained or recorded by the authority for the purposes of its functions relating to-
 
      (i) investigations falling within subsection (1)(a) or (b),
 
      (ii) criminal proceedings which the authority has power to conduct,
 
      (iii) investigations (other than investigations falling within subsection (1)(a) or (b)) which are conducted by the authority for any of the purposes specified in section 30(2) and either by virtue of Her Majesty's prerogative or by virtue of powers conferred by or under any enactment, or
 
      (iv) civil proceedings which are brought by or on behalf of the authority and arise out of such investigations, and
 
    (b) it relates to the obtaining of information from confidential sources.
      (3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of subsection (1) or (2).
 
      (4) In relation to the institution or conduct of criminal proceedings or the power to conduct them, references in subsection (1)(b) or (c) and subsection (2)(a) to the public authority include references-
 
 
    (a) to any officer of the authority,
 
    (b) in the case of a government department other than a Northern Ireland department, to the Minister of the Crown in charge of the department, and
 
    (c) in the case of a Northern Ireland department, to the Northern Ireland Minister in charge of the department.
      (5) In this section-
 
 
    "criminal proceedings" includes-
 
      (a) proceedings before a court-martial constituted under the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955 or the Naval Discipline Act 1957 or a disciplinary court constituted under section 52G of the Act of 1957,
 
      (b) proceedings on dealing summarily with a charge under the Army Act 1955 or the Air Force Act 1955 or on summary trial under the Naval Discipline Act 1957,
 
      (c) proceedings before a court established by section 83ZA of the Army Act 1955, section 83ZA of the Air Force Act 1955 or section 52FF of the Naval Discipline Act 1957 (summary appeal courts),
 
      (d) proceedings before the Courts-Martial Appeal Court, and
 
      (e) proceedings before a Standing Civilian Court;
 
    "offence" includes any offence under the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955 or the Naval Discipline Act 1957.
      (6) In the application of this section to Scotland-
 
 
    (a) in subsection (1)(b), for the words from "a decision" to the end there is substituted "a decision by the authority to make a report to the procurator fiscal for the purpose of enabling him to determine whether criminal proceedings should be instituted",
 
    (b) in subsections (1)(c) and (2)(a)(ii) for "which the authority has power to conduct" substitute "which have been instituted in consequence of a report made by the authority to the procurator fiscal", and
 
    (c) for any reference to a person being charged with an offence there is substituted a reference to the person being prosecuted for the offence.
Law enforcement.     30. - (1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 29 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice-
 
 
    (a) the prevention or detection of crime,
 
    (b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders,
 
    (c) the administration of justice,
 
    (d) the assessment or collection of any tax or duty or of any imposition of a similar nature,
 
    (e) the operation of the immigration controls,
 
    (f) the maintenance of security and good order in prisons or in other institutions where persons are lawfully detained,
 
    (g) the exercise by any public authority of its functions for any of the purposes specified in subsection (2),
 
    (h) any civil proceedings which are brought by or on behalf of a public authority and arise out of an investigation conducted, for any of the purposes specified in subsection (2), by or on behalf of the authority by virtue of Her Majesty's prerogative or by virtue of powers conferred by or under an enactment, or
 
    (i) any inquiry held under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiries (Scotland) Act 1976 to the extent that the inquiry arises out of an investigation conducted, for any of the purposes specified in subsection (2), by or on behalf of the authority by virtue of Her Majesty's prerogative or by virtue of powers conferred by or under an enactment.
      (2) The purposes referred to in subsection (1)(g) to (i) are-
 
 
    (a) the purpose of ascertaining whether any person has failed to comply with the law,
 
    (b) the purpose of ascertaining whether any person is responsible for any conduct which is improper,
 
    (c) the purpose of ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify regulatory action in pursuance of any enactment exist or may arise,
 
    (d) the purpose of ascertaining a person's fitness or competence in relation to the management of bodies corporate or in relation to any profession or other activity which he is, or seeks to become, authorised to carry on,
 
    (e) the purpose of ascertaining the cause of an accident,
 
    (f) the purpose of protecting charities against misconduct or mismanagement (whether by trustees or other persons) in their administration,
 
    (g) the purpose of protecting the property of charities from loss or misapplication,
 
    (h) the purpose of recovering the property of charities,
 
    (i) the purpose of securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work, and
 
    (j) the purpose of protecting persons other than persons at work against risk to health or safety arising out of or in connection with the actions of persons at work.
      (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).
 
Court records, etc.     31. - (1) Information held by a public authority is exempt information if it is held only by virtue of being contained in-
 
 
    (a) any document filed with, or otherwise placed in the custody of, a court for the purposes of proceedings in a particular cause or matter,
 
    (b) any document served upon, or by, a public authority for the purposes of proceedings in a particular cause or matter, or
 
    (c) any document created by-
 
      (i) a court, or
 
      (ii) a member of the administrative staff of a court,
 
    for the purposes of proceedings in a particular cause or matter.
      (2) Information held by a public authority is exempt information if it is held only by virtue of being contained in-
 
 
    (a) any document placed in the custody of a person conducting an inquiry or arbitration, for the purposes of the inquiry or arbitration, or
 
    (b) any document created by a person conducting an inquiry or arbitration, for the purposes of the inquiry or arbitration.
      (3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of this section.
 
      (4) In this section-
 
 
    (a) "court" includes any tribunal or body exercising the judicial power of the State,
 
    (b) "proceedings in a particular cause or matter" includes any inquest or post-mortem examination,
 
    (c) "inquiry" means any inquiry or hearing held under any provision contained in, or made under, an enactment, and
 
    (d) except in relation to Scotland, "arbitration" means any arbitration to which Part I of the Arbitration Act 1996 applies.
Audit functions.     32. - (1) This section applies to any public authority which has functions in relation to-
 
 
    (a) the audit of the accounts of other public authorities, or
 
    (b) the examination of the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which other public authorities use their resources in discharging their functions.
      (2) Information held by a public authority to which this section applies is exempt information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the exercise of any of the authority's functions in relation to any of the matters referred to in subsection (1).
 
      (3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to a public authority to which this section applies if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice the exercise of any of the authority's functions in relation to any of the matters referred to in subsection (1).
 
Parliamentary privilege.     33. - (1) Information is exempt information if exemption from section 1(1)(b) is required for the purpose of avoiding an infringement of the privileges of either House of Parliament.
 
      (2) The duty to confirm or deny does not apply if, or to the extent that, exemption from section 1(1)(a) is required for the purpose of avoiding an infringement of the privileges of either House of Parliament.
 
      (3) A certificate signed by the appropriate authority 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 avoiding an infringement of the privileges of either House of Parliament shall be conclusive evidence of that fact.
 
      (4) In subsection (3) "the appropriate authority" means-
 
 
    (a) in relation to the House of Commons, the Speaker of that House, and
 
    (b) in relation to the House of Lords, the Clerk of the Parliaments.
Formulation of government policy, etc.     34. - (1) Information held by a government department or by the National Assembly for Wales is exempt information if it relates to-
 
 
    (a) the formulation or development of government policy,
 
    (b) Ministerial communications,
 
    (c) the provision of advice by any of the Law Officers or any request for the provision of such advice, or
 
    (d) the operation of any Ministerial private office.
      (2) Once a decision as to government policy has been taken, any statistical information used to provide an informed background to the taking of the decision is not to be regarded-
 
 
    (a) for the purposes of subsection (1)(a), as relating to the formulation or development of government policy, or
 
    (b) for the purposes of subsection (1)(b), as relating to Ministerial communications.
      (3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of subsection (1).
 
      (4) In this section-
 
 
    "government policy" includes the policy of the Executive Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the policy of the National Assembly for Wales;
 
    "the Law Officers" means the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, the Advocate General for Scotland, the Lord Advocate, the Solicitor General for Scotland and the Attorney General for Northern Ireland;
 
    "Ministerial communications" means any communications-
 
      (a) between Ministers of the Crown,
 
      (b) between Northern Ireland Ministers, including Northern Ireland junior Ministers, or
 
      (c) between Assembly Secretaries, including the Assembly First Secretary,
 
    and includes, in particular, proceedings of the Cabinet or of any committee of the Cabinet, proceedings of the Executive Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and proceedings of the executive committee of the National Assembly for Wales;
 
    "Ministerial private office" means any part of a government department which provides personal administrative support to a Minister of the Crown, to a Northern Ireland Minister or a Northern Ireland junior Minister or any part of the administration of the National Assembly for Wales providing personal administrative support to the Assembly First Secretary or an Assembly Secretary;
 
    "Northern Ireland junior Minister" means a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly appointed as a junior Minister under section 19 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.
Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs.     35. - (1) This section applies to-
 
 
    (a) information which is held by a government department or by the National Assembly for Wales and is not exempt information by virtue of section 34, and
 
    (b) information which is held by any other public authority.
      (2) Information to which this section applies is exempt information if, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, disclosure of the information under this Act-
 
 
    (a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice-
 
      (i) the maintenance of the convention of the collective responsibility of Ministers of the Crown, or
 
      (ii) the work of the Executive Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly, or
 
      (iii) the work of the executive committee of the National Assembly for Wales,
 
    (b) would, or would be likely to, inhibit-
 
      (i) the free and frank provision of advice, or
 
      (ii) the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, or
 
    (c) would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.
      (3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information to which this section applies (or would apply if held by the public authority) if, or to the extent that, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, have any of the effects mentioned in subsection (2).
 
      (4) In relation to statistical information, subsections (2) and (3) shall have effect with the omission of the words "in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person".
 
      (5) In subsections (2) and (3) "qualified person"-
 
 
    (a) in relation to information held by a government department in the charge of a Minister of the Crown, means any Minister of the Crown,
 
    (b) in relation to information held by a Northern Ireland department, means the Northern Ireland Minister in charge of the department,
 
    (c) in relation to information held by any other government department, means the commissioners or other person in charge of that department,
 
    (d) in relation to information held by the House of Commons, means the Speaker of that House,
 
    (e) in relation to information held by the House of Lords, means the Clerk of the Parliaments,
 
    (f) in relation to information held by the Northern Ireland Assembly, means the Presiding Officer,
 
    (g) in relation to information held by the National Assembly for Wales, means the Assembly First Secretary,
 
    (h) in relation to information held by any Welsh public authority other than the Auditor General for Wales, means-
 
      (i) the public authority, or
 
      (ii) any officer or employee of the authority authorised by the Assembly First Secretary,
 
    (i) in relation to information held by the National Audit Office, means the Comptroller and Auditor General,
 
    (j) in relation to information held by the Northern Ireland Audit Office, means the Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland,
 
    (k) in relation to information held by the Auditor General for Wales, means the Auditor General for Wales,
 
    (l) in relation to information held by any Northern Ireland public authority other than the Northern Ireland Audit Office, means-
 
      (i) the public authority, or
 
      (ii) any officer or employee of the authority authorised by the First Minister and deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland acting jointly,
 
    (m) in relation to information held by the Greater London Authority, means the Mayor of London,
 
    (n) in relation to information held by a functional body within the meaning of the Greater London Authority Act 1999, means the chairman of that functional body, and
 
    (o) in relation to information held by any public authority not falling within any of paragraphs (a) to (n), means-
 
      (i) a Minister of the Crown,
 
      (ii) the public authority, if authorised for the purposes of this section by a Minister of the Crown, or
 
      (iii) any officer or employee of the public authority who is authorised for the purposes of this section by a Minister of the Crown.
      (6) Any authorisation for the purposes of this section-
 
 
    (a) may relate to a specified person or to persons falling within a specified class,
 
    (b) may be general or limited to particular classes of case, and
 
    (c) may be granted subject to conditions.
      (7) A certificate signed by the qualified person referred to in subsection (5)(d) or (e) above certifying that in his reasonable opinion-
 
 
    (a) disclosure of information held by either House of Parliament, or
 
    (b) compliance with section 1(1)(a) by either House,
       would, or would be likely to, have any of the effects mentioned in subsection (2) shall be conclusive evidence of that fact.
 
 
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