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Departments: Freedom of Information

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 17 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance his Department and its predecessor have issued on time limits on the right to request an internal review of a response to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. (158198)

Guidance on the discharge of public authorities’ functions is provided in a code of practice under section 45 of the Act, which is laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor. This guidance sets the procedure for dealing with complaints, referred to as internal reviews. Any request for an internal review must be dealt with in accordance with the code of practice. It contains no specific guidance on time limits for requesters to ask for internal reviews. In response to FOI requests received by the Ministry of Justice, the requester is informed via a letter that they may ask for an internal review within two calendar months from the date of that letter. This is consistent with the time limit set out in the Environmental Information Regulations under Regulation 11(2) of 40 days to issue a complaint. Public authorities are free to decide, on a case by case basis, whether they will carry out an internal review requested after this period has elapsed.