Scottish Commissioner Warns on Use of Vexatious Standard

5 April 2013

Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew on April 1 cautioned authorities against denying information requests on the grounds they are vexatious.

Laying out revised standards based on recent cases, she said the vexatious provision must not be used “lightly,” according to the announcement.

The main changes are:

  1. “Significant burden on the public authority” becomes one factor rather than a first test.  So, for example, a request which has no serious purpose or value may be a vexatious request, even though it would not take significant resources to respond to.  When claiming significant burden, authorities are expected to quantify how responding to the information request will divert resources from other statutory functions, and justify why those functions take precedent over dealing with the request.
  2. A particular emphasis is laid on the need for an authority to provide well-reasoned evidence when claiming a request is vexatious.
  3. Authorities are encouraged to engage with requesters to help them understand why they consider a request to be vexatious, as the requester themselves may not see it this way.
Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: ,

Filed under: What's New