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

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International relations.     27. - (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.     28. - (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).
 
The economy.     29. - (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 28(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.     30. - (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 31(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" there is substituted "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.     31. - (1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 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.     32. - (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.     33. - (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).
 
 
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Prepared 15 November 2000