Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
14 May 2020
Dear Mr Jones
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request –
Thank you for your request, received on 12 May 2020, for an Internal Review of FOI
200306028 in which you asked for the following information from the Ministry of Justice
‘…1) How many times in the last 3 years has Chamber President Judge Alison
McKenna decided to ignore the official statement issued to people appealing an ICO
Decision Notice which is that 'it's not possible to re-hear a case', and instead gone
ahead, and decided to re-hear the case? If it's happened... on so many occasions that
gathering the information would exceed the spending limits on responding to an FOI
Request, please reduce the term to 2 years. If that's still too costly, reduce it to 15
[Background: I know for a fact this has happened on AT LEAST one occasion when
Judge McKenna decided to re-hear a case - in defiance of the official statement
accompanying her Ruling on Feb 20 2019 which stated categorically: 'it is not
possible to re-hear a case'. She then went on to reach the decision as the Registrar
but gave as her reason something the Registrar failed to mention].
2) On how many occasions in the last 3 years has Chamber President Judge McKenna
suffered an extraordinary memory lapse? Like, for example, the one she had in her
Ruling of a case on 20 Feb 2019 where she falsely stated that the GRC Registrar had
rejected an appellant's appeal against an ICO Decision because they'd failed to
demonstrate 'an error in law' in the Decision. The Registrar had, in fact, made
absolutely no mention of 'error in law' in her Ruling.
NB The purpose of this FOI Request is to establish whether the judge has been prone
to severe memory lapses in the past, and - if that is the case - whether the pubic
interest might best be served by her being granted another period of sickness leave.
3) How many times in the last 3 years has Chamber president Judge Alison McKenna
failed to disclose a conflict of interest and recuse herself from hearing and ruling on a
case that raises the same issues as one she's ruled on shortly before?
[Background: I know for a fact that this has happened on AT LEAST one occasion,
namely when she decided not to disclose a conflict of interest in July, and hear an
Out of Time application to the Upper Tribunal by Dudley Jones (which she then
rejected!). This was directly related to an appeal by Dudley Jones against an ICO
Decision she'd re-heard and ruled on in Feb 2019. Of course, this may have been
ANOTHER MEMORY LOSS by Judge McKenna. She may have simply forgotten she'd
ruled on Dudley Jones' case 5 months earlier. Or, indeed, she'd weighed up all the
facts, and decided there was no conflict of interest involved so she'd hear it itself
rather than ask one of the other 19 judges employed by the GRC to hear this
particular Out of Time application. It may, indeed, have been a regular practice for her
to hear Out of Time applications…’
Your request is being handled under the FOIA.
A review is currently being conducted and a response will be issued to you in due course.
The MoJ aims to provide you with a response within 20 working days, in accordance with the
Information Commissioner’s Office’s recommendation.
However, in view of the current public health situation, and its possible effect on resources
and priorities, we may not be able to reply to you by this date; if this will be the case, we will
write to you nearer the time with an update.
If you have any queries regarding this Internal Review, please do not hesitate to contact the
above address quoting the reference number 200512013 in all correspondence.
Knowledge and information Liaison Officer pp National Business Centre