Information is crucial in securing legal accountability and vindicating civil and human rights. In that sense, accessing information cuts across all of our work at Deighton Pierce Glynn.
Information is also the subject of legal entitlements in its own right. In the UK, this is reflected in the Freedom of Information Act 2000. But an entitlement to access accurate and comprehensive information is also recognised by the common law, including where affected individuals have a legitimate expectation to information and in the conduct of government consultations. The European Court of Human Rights has also recently recognised the public’s “right to truth” in relation to serious human rights violations.
Deighton Pierce Glynn helps clients access information held by public authorities and, where the duties apply, corporations. Often our clients need to obtain this information for wider campaigning or reporting purposes, or to fulfil their function as non-governmental organisations informing the public about particular areas.
We advise on appeals under the Freedom of Information 2000 and represent clients before the Information Commissioner’s Office and in the Information Tribunal. We also advise on information rights outside FOIA.
We have had notable successes, including securing transparency commitments from the Cross-Government Working Group on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones v Information Commissioner & DfT); the release of information regarding private sector operators of immigration detention centres in the UK, including the fact that incidents of self-harm leading to death incurred a mere £10,000 penalty (Information Commissioner v Home Office & Miller); the first cross-examination of a UK armed drone pilot (Cole v Information Commissioner & MoD); and the release of further information regarding historical activities of the UK Foreign Office in relation to Bahrain (Jones v Information Commissioner & FCO).