Government consults on introducing £100 (papers) and £500 (hearing) fees for appeals to ICO decision notices

Government consults on introducing £100 (papers) and £500 (hearing) fees for appeals to ICO decision notices

Government consults on introducing £100 (papers) and £500 (hearing) fees for appeals to ICO decision notices


ICO Information Commissioner's Office logo
ICO Information Commissioner’s Office logo

Four days ago the Ministry of Justice started consulting on increasing fees for various civil courts and tribunals. The consultation closes on the 15th September 2015.

This is what one of their consultation documents states:

First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber)
124. The General Regulatory Chamber hears a wide range of appeals on regulatory matters, for example charities, consumer credit, transport and appeals from decisions of the Information Commissioner. We do not currently charge fees for proceedings in this chamber, with the exception of appeals in relation to gambling licences. In these cases, the fee charged is based on the value of the licences that are in dispute. We are not proposing to change the fees for these proceedings.

125. In 2013–14 the estimated cost of the General Regulatory Chamber (including Gambling) was £1.6m. The fee income generated from Gambling proceedings (the only fee charging tribunal within the General Regulatory Chamber) was £11,600.

126. In the remaining jurisdictions within the General Regulatory Chamber, we have proposed one fee for an appeal decision on the papers and one fee for an oral hearing. Our proposal is to charge a fee of £100 to issue proceedings, which would entitle the claimant to a decision based on a review of the papers. The claimant may alternatively elect for an oral hearing, in which case a further fee of £500 would be payable. Based on current volumes, we estimate that this proposal would generate a cost recovery percentage of around 17% after remissions.

127. The fees will also apply to “reference” cases where cases are started in the first-tier Tribunal but have to be referred directly to the Upper Tribunal for a first instance hearing.

Question 14: Do you agree with the proposed fees for all proceedings in the General Regulatory Chamber: specifically £100 to start proceedings with a determination on the papers; and a further fee of £500 for a hearing? Please give reasons.

Question 15: Are there any proceedings in the General Regulatory Chamber that should be exempt from fees? Please give reasons.

I’d better explain a bit better what the above is about by explaining the process to making a FOI request.

You make a Freedom of Information Act request to a public body and if is turned down (whether in part or in full) you can ask the same public body for an internal review.

If at the internal review there is still information withheld and you feel that they shouldn’t have withheld the information you can appeal the internal review decision to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The Information Commissioner’s Office then look into the matter (which can take months as ICO have a backlog of cases) and issue a decision notice (sometimes even if the public body changes their mind and releases the information requested during this time). You can see an example of a decision notice ICO issued for a request I made to Wirral Council on ICO’s website here.

If either the public body or the person making the FOI request disagree with the decision notice, they have 28 days to appeal the decision to the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) which is part of the General Regulatory Chamber.

Appeals can then be made of decisions of the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) on a point of law only to the Upper Tribunal.

The consultation is proposing that if someone (whether the public body or the person making the request) wishes to challenge an ICO decision notice by appealing it to the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) that there will be a charge of £100 if the decision is made on the papers and £500 if a hearing is required.

The Panopticon blog has also written about this consultation (far more eloquently and in a more entertaining way than I could manage) in a piece headlined Circle the Wagons: They are Coming for the Information Tribunal.

So what do readers think about this proposed change? Most of the appeals to ICO decision notices to the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) are by litigants in person, who unless they fall into one of the categories of people who don’t have to pay fees a fee of £100 or £500 may make them think twice before appealing a decision.

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Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.

15 thoughts on “Government consults on introducing £100 (papers) and £500 (hearing) fees for appeals to ICO decision notices”

  1. Mr Brace, these changes were inevitable, nobody likes prying eyes in whatever field of endeavor Scumbags operate. It also flies in the face of Free Access to Justice and Open, Transparent and Honest Government and of course Local Government.

    You will indeed have the Professors and Academics being heard first and the (so called ) dross will be weeded out. instead of any Follow Up Inquiry, as has happened to me in the recent past.

    The reason being it may not connect to this Survey or inquiry at the moment or because the dross are not as able to Articulate as well as your academic or professor. ICO cases at whatever level should be treated and dealt with on a Case to Case basis.

    The ” Tribunal System ” was brought in in order to give the inarticulate man or woman a voice and be heard at a Very Low Cost to Government and as it can be termed the ” Common Man ” Unfortunately in this day and age MONEY talks and if this is part of the Cameron changing any rights system them he should think again.

    1. I’ll quote from the comment I’ve just made

      “Those who are entitled to a fee remission such as those on certain benefits or on a low income won’t have to pay the tribunal fees (if they’re brought in).”

      I’m sure nobody wants justice to just be the preserve of the rich!

      Just out of curiousity do you put me in the same category as an articulate academic?

      1. Mr Brace, First of all reference your comment, the Tribunal system was brought in not just for Benefit Claimants, but for all, there are plenty of People who are working on low incomes.
        In regards to your second comment ” Justice to just be a preserve of the Rich” Some of the cases I see going through the Courts, especially the Senior London Courts normally involve the Well Off. Thirdly, if you wish to be praised, courted and feted
        I would suggest that you contact Wirral Borough Council you will get your answer from the location of the seating arrangements at the next Shindig

    1. Sorry my fingers where fast than my poor dull mind on that, but that should have been RICH and not Rick who ever he is!

    2. Those who are entitled to a fee remission such as those on certain benefits or on a low income won’t have to pay the tribunal fees (if they’re brought in).

      I’m sure nobody wants justice to just be the preserve of the rich!

  2. G’day John

    Everyone a gem in the local rubbish propaganda sheet

    Police and Wirral Council unite to launch motorbike summer safety scheme

    They forgot John to add

    and allowing Wirral “Funny” Bizz to get away with about £2,000,000.00 of taxpayer money

    John you don’t have to believe me and “Highbrow” with about 70 years accounting and auditing experience between us just read Grant Thornton or break into “The Shysters” treasure chest of deceit and lies and look at the DCLG Report that they must have.

    It would be an open and shut case the weasels from down Campelltown Road would just fold like they buckled under the weight of “Highbrow” in that court over Kev and Stella’s Stagnant Wirral Waters and he is about eight stone lighter than the fat headed “Shyster” with his threatening letters.



    Can’t wait to see “The Shyster” with his cheap plastic biro and expensive barrister making a fool of himself to the judge like last time when Martin was told by the judge he was being reasonable.

    To “The Shyster” he said naff all after stalling proceedings.

    The only tricks in his bag, keep your gobs shut (Basnett) and stalling.

    And John there will be even more court coming after that.

    Why doesn’t “The Shyster” wear a wig in court John (or anywhere) he could use one?

    He could take advice for a change……from his Wirralgate mate “Phil the Dill’s Ugly Twin Brother with the Comb Over from Hell”

    1. Whereas if you had lots of money you could just buy a few police officers (see invoice below):

      [caption id="attachment_9801" align="alignleft" width="500"]Merseyside Police invoice to Merseytravel 27th March 2014 £39213.72 Merseyside Police invoice to Merseytravel 27th March 2014 £39213.72[/caption]

    2. Hi Mr G, I am still unaware whether Mr Tour is legally Qualified or just head of a Chamber or Office. I did ask him once and I have not received and answer, perhaps he has a BA, rather than and LLB (hons) or he is a para legal, who knows, who cares? In you case with Mr H, he appears to be the bag carrier for a Q.C.

  3. G’day John

    Eccas low lives’ just do what they want.

    The clowncillors don’t care.

    God bless Stuart Kelly he will be on the stairway to heaven when the other 65 deserve to go down Gra Gra’s Stairway to Hell.

    Yes Ecca you are now responsible for this scum.

    I will keep up my efforts till we get some full and frank admissions about Wirral “Funny” Bizz.



    Stella must be here for school holidays soon smokin out the back, and front, with the idiotic, lunatic fantasist that is Addled.

    I wonder if he lets her wear his ridiculous football shirt with his name on the back ‘ LIAR’

  4. Mr Brace, I can see where you are coming from on this ” Unfortunately Police Officers are Highly Trained, Cost money to Retain and again do not always get the job done properly, whatever the motives or position they take” As from your previous Blog, it is much cheaper to have PCSO’s and Special Constables to Serve. This has a knock on effect of Reducing Cost’s for Control of the Public, at Special Events or Weekend Disorder, etc.
    Bottom of the pile is Private Security Services or Very Cheap Volunteers for Special Events.You know and I know that the Government have to reduce cost’s. Although their Intentions maybe Honorable in most cases, the problem rests with the Hangers on and they have that many of them and others trying to make in some cases a fast buck, that the Country is in a mess Financially.
    Take Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, by their own admission they have to cut cost’s? the question I have asked myself over and over again is why? What for? and why the Front Line Staff? The Conclusion I have reached would not particularly astound you that is why I have prepared a Director of Public Prosecution File.
    Now like Mr Griffiths, Mr H and others I have lived through these antics and have suffered like the rest of you, reported matters and appeared not to have got anywhere. Whilst I am not the Brightest Crayon or Sharpest Pencil in the Box, I can tell you some Very, Very Serious Offences have and continue to be committed and quite frankly although NO Consideration has been shown for anybodies Rights by these people!!!!!!!!
    I still believe naively perhaps, that people deserve their day in Court and given Proper and Due Process and I for one will always try to push for that and believe me I have dealt with some Scumbags in my time.
    I have to say that various things have come to my attention in a Micro and Macro Sense which lead me to believe that if the Lord does not get them, then eventually the LAW will and I live in hope for that day. As you and others have done, I have to await the result of my inquiries and when this happens I will indeed give a Statement and attend Court if necessary to out these people and you can be assured I know who they are and what they have done.

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