Posted by: John Brace | 27 February 2018

Appeal over ICO request to disclose Hoylake Golf Resort contract (EA/2017/0191) ends with First-tier Tribunal Judge Farrer QC, Wirral Council and ICO agreeing to partial disclosure

Appeal over ICO request to disclose Hoylake Golf Resort contract (EA/2017/0191) ends with First-tier Tribunal Judge Farrer QC, Wirral Council and ICO agreeing to partial disclosure

Hoylake Golf Resort contract cover page

Hoylake Golf Resort contract cover page

This blog has previously reported on First-tier Tribunal (information rights) case EA/2017/0191 which was Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s appeal of the regulator ICO’s decision notice FER0672223 (which resulted from an EIR request I made first on the 12th December 2016.

The consent order agreed by First-tier Tribunal Judge Farrer QC, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council and ICO that arose out of the telephone conference on the 14th February 2018 has since been published on the First-tier Tribunal’s website.

I will skip over the case number, parties, tribunal name etc and just quote from the paragraphs in the consent order itself. Where specific legislation is mentioned in the consent order, I’ve linked to it below in case you’d like to read it (although such links are not in the original).

  1. The parties have applied to the Tribunal, pursuant to Rule 37 of the Tribunal Procedure (First – Tier Tribunal) (Regulatory Chamber) Rules, 2009 as amended, for its consent to an order disposing of this appeal on the terms set at paragraph 3 below. They have consented to the hearing of the application by telephone conference, pursuant to Rule 37(2) and by the Judge sitting alone.
  2. Having read the papers and considered the parties’ oral submissions as to the merits of the Appellant’s case and the public interest, the Tribunal consents to the order requested.
  3. The terms of the order are that –
    1. The appeal is allowed.
    2. The following order, which reflects the terms set out at paragraph 3 of Annex A to this order, shall be substituted for the Commissioner’s order at paragraph 3 of the Decision Notice –
      “The Tribunal requires Wirral Metropolitan Council to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation –

      Disclose the Amended Annotated Development Agreement at pages 256 – 351 of the Closed Bundle prepared for the appeal hearing, save the passages annotated in green and any marginal green notes, which may be withheld.

      The Commissioner’s order at paragraph 2 of the Decision Notice stands.”

    3. The Appellant has disclosed the required information and is not required to take any further steps.
    4. There is no order as to costs.

Questions about the Hoylake Golf Resort project may be asked during the series of public meetings of Wirral Council’s Constituency Committees that are happening in the next few weeks (the constituency it is in is Wirral West). I have made a FOI request for Wirral Council’s legal costs in its appeal of ICO’s decision to disclose the Hoylake Golf Resort contract in full.

Either party (ICO or Wirral Council) can request permission to appeal the consent order from First-tier Tribunal Judge Farrer QC within the next couple of weeks, but in my opinion are unlikely to do so.

I requested to be added as a party in this First-tier Tribunal case (as I had made the original environmental information request) but that request was refused by Judge Farrer QC.

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