Do all public authorities have to release information?

All public authorities subject to the Act have a responsibility to respond to all applicants requesting information. Although the Act promotes maximum disclosure, in these are circumstances Agencies can refuse your request:

  • When the information you have asked for is already publicly available,
  • When your request supersedes the available resources of the public authority. The public authority however, must show that it took all steps as far as reasonably possible to gather the information
  • When there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

A refusal is deemed to be:

  1. The decision of a public authority to deny or defer access, in whole or in part, to a document that has been requested under the Act.
  2. The failure of a public authority to give written notice of a decision on an FOIA request, within thirty (30) calendar days of having received the request.