matter how legitimate the subject matter or valid the
intentions of the requester.”
“Frequent or overlapping requests
The requester submits frequent correspondence about the
same issue or sends in new requests before the public
authority has had an opportunity to address their earlier
We also note the following extract from the First-Tier Tribunal’s decision in IPPC v ICO
(EA/2011/0222, 29 March 2012):
"A request may be so grossly oppressive in terms of the resources and time
demanded by compliance as to be vexatious, regardless of the intentions or
bona fides of the requester. If so, it is not prevented from being vexatious just
because the authority could have relied instead on s.12"
Finally, we note that the Code of Practice issued under section 45 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 states that public authorities should “note that the public
interest in obtaining the material does not act as a ‘trump card’, overriding the
vexatious elements of the request requiring the public authority to respond to the
This point has also been reiterated by the Upper Tribunal5 and First-Tier
For the purposes of section 14, we are entitled to take into account the number of
requests made by an applicant, the amount of work that would be involved, and any
other matters that we consider would demonstrate that the request imposes an
unjustified burden on Post Office. We are entitled to do so in certain circumstances
even where there is a serious purpose behind the request.
You have submitted 39 requests to Post Office in a period of less than three weeks
(i.e. between 6 August and 24 August) in quick succession. Your requests are detailed
and are likely to require Post Office to spend a significant amount of time not only
retrieving responsive material but also in considering the extent to which exemptions
under FOI apply to that material. In the circumstances, we consider that this would
impose a disproportionate and oppressive burden on our resources and unjustified
level of disruption.
In case helpful, you may wish to consider the guidance on the Information
Commissioner’s webpage titled “How to access information from a public body”.7 This
webpage includes a list of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ to assist members of the public with
making effective requests under FOIA. In particular, we note that this section
advocates giving the public authority ”ample opportunity to address any previous
requests you have made before submitting new ones”
as well as advocating against
“disrupt[ing] a public authority by the sheer weight of requests or the volume of
71/CoP FOI Code of Practice - Minor Amendments 20180926 .pdf at paragraph 7.11.
5 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5b57139a40f0b6339963e8cf/GIA 2782 2017-00.pdf at
0334)%2028.05.20.pdf at paragraph 6(6).
If you have any queries about this response, please contact me, quoting the reference
number above in any future communications.
I hope the information I have provided on this occasion is useful, however if you are
dissatisfied with the handling of this response, you do have a right to request an
internal review. You can do this by writing to the address below stating your reasons
for your internal review request.
Information Rights Manager
Post Office Limited
Information Rights Team
20 Finsbury Street
If, having requested an internal review by Post Office, you are still not satisfied with
our response you also have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Information Rights Team
Post Office Limited is committed to protecting your privacy, information about
how we do this can be found on our website at www.postoffice.co.uk/privacy