Dear Ministry of Defence,

I wild like to request, pursuant to section 1 (1) Freedom of Information Act 2000, copies of email, postal or other written communications:

(i) Sent from the Ministry of Defence ("MoD") to the Solicitors' Regulation Authority ("SRA") or the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ("SDT");
(ii) Sent from the SRA or SDT to the MoD;
(iii) Sent from the MoD to the Ministry of Justice ("MoJ"); or
(iv) Sent from the MoJ to the MoD

Concerning:

(a) the prosecution of Leigh Day, Martyn Day, Sapna Malik, and/or Anna Crowther ("the Parties") before the SDT; or
(b) the investigation of the Parties or (others employed by Leigh Day) by the SRA.

Yours faithfully,
Matthew Jackson

correspondence@mod.ecase.gsi.gov.uk on behalf of Mr Martin Blackwell,

Dear Mr Jackson,

Your request under the Freedom of information Act has been logged under
our reference FOI2017/08607 and the target date for response is 4 October
2017.

Yours sincerely,

Directorate of Judicial Engagement Policy

Ministry of Defence

DJEP-JRs (MULTIUSER), Y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn

Dear Mr Jackson,

I write further to my email of 14 September 2017 in relation to your Freedom of Information Act request (MOD reference FOI2017-08607). The target date for response is today.

Unfortunately, the Department is still considering your request and I am not yet able to provide you with a response. I hope to be in a position to provide that response within the next few weeks, or sooner if possible, and will write again as soon as I am able to do so.

I apologise for the delay.

Yours sincerely,

Directorate of Judicial Engagement Policy
Ministry of Defence

From: [email address] on behalf of Mr Martin Blackwell [mailto:[email address]]
Sent: 14 September 2017 15:26
To: [FOI #429956 email]
Subject: Request for information - ref FOI2017/08607

Dear Mr Jackson,
Your request under the Freedom of information Act has been logged under our reference FOI2017/08607 and the target date for response is 4 October 2017.
Yours sincerely,
Directorate of Judicial Engagement Policy
Ministry of Defence

Dear Ministry of Justice,

Many thanks for your email. As you are no doubt aware section 10 (1) Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires a response to a request within 20 working days as a public law duty. This is not an optional period with a target as you suggest. I would be grateful if you could provide (within the next seven days) a fixed date within which you intend to comply with this duty, failing which I may make a complaint to the Information Commissioner without further notice.

Yours sincerely,
Matthew Jackson

DJEP-JRs (MULTIUSER),

Dear Mr Jackson,

 

Unfortunately, I am unable to indicate when you will receive a reply to
your request although I will endeavour to provide a substantive response
as soon as I am able to.

 

As you have not received a response to your request within the target
deadline, you are of course entitled to complain to the Information
Commissioner's Office (ICO). It may be helpful to know that you are able
to lodge a complaint at any stage of your request and you do not need to
wait for an internal review process to be completed. Should you decide to
lodge a complaint, the ICO will request all the information in scope and a
detailed explanation of why a response has not been provided.

 

Once again, I apologise for the continued delay.

 

Your sincerely,

 

Directorate of Judicial Engagement Policy

Ministry of Defence

 

 

Gadawodd Matt Jackson anodiad ()

A complaint has been made to the ICO regarding this request.

DJEP-JRs (MULTIUSER),

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Jackson,

 

I write further to our correspondence regarding your request under the
Freedom of Information Act and now attach the Department’s substantive
response to your request.

 

Once again, I apologise for the length of time it has taken to provide you
with a response.

 

Your sincerely,

 

Directorate of Judicial Engagement Policy

Ministry of Defence

 

Dear Ministry of Defence,

Thank you for your delayed response to my request. In the meantime, a complaint has been made to the Information Commissioner regarding the delay to the response. Of course your response makes that issue otiose; however it is likely that the ICO has not yet dealt with the complaint and you may be contacted in any event.

I am writing to request an internal review of Ministry of Defence's handling of my FOI request 'Communications between MoJ, MoD and SRA about Leigh Day'.

The exemption relied upon is section 31 and the subsequent public interest test. In particular the fact that the information requested has, to some degree, been deployed before the SDT and might be deployed before a court in the future.

In terms of technical details, in respect of the exemption in section 31 (1) (g), it is incumbent upon the relevant authority :

(1) identify the public authority that has been entrusted with a function to fulfil one of the purposes listed in subsection (2);
(2) confirm that the function has been specifically designed to fulfil that purpose, and
(3) explain how the disclosure would prejudice that function.

See page 15 of the ICO's guidance on the exemption under section 31. The MoD has failed to do so in this case, and it would be incumbent upon you to identify precisely these details, not only to see if section 31 does in fact apply, but also whether the public interest test has been applied properly. I trust this will be done on an internal review.

In terms of the public interest test, I accept the broad thrust of the identification of the matters pointing towards disclosure. I would also add that there is a public interest in knowing the extent to which the Crown sought to involve itself in a regulatory matter, and whether the use of the Crown's influence in that sphere was something that could (or indeed could not) be the subject of criticism. As described in the ICO's guidance to the public interest test at page 13 as "a suspicion of wrongdoing", this has been raised in the proceedings before the SDT. I of course make no allegation of my own to this effect, but the suspicion has been raised and would be a further factor in favour of disclosure - irrespective of whether that suspicion is confirmed or denied.

I of course do not have access to the relevant information in order to press the point regarding actual risk to the administration of justice, but it is difficult to conceive how release of this information could be of risk to the administration of justice or what that risk it: you have failed to identify what the actual risk is as opposed to a theoretical one.

Any appeal or costs hearing is heard by either the judiciary, or people exercising a quasi judicial role respectively. The position is not the same as if this were a jury trial and they could potentially be influenced by materials in the press. It is also completely unclear on what basis you assert that there could be prejudice to "future proceedings or the role of the SRA as a participant in those proceedings". Does this mean further appeals in these proceedings? Future prosecutions by the SRA? If the former then the points above apply regarding who will hear these cases. In the latter case, this appears to be theorising a prospective risk that has not been identified in the response to the request.

Equally however, those materials that have been deployed before the SDT are already in the public domain. The SDT sits in public and those proceedings can be reported upon. There has been no order requiring parties not to disclose information placed before the SDT (as they would do, for example in respect of clients names or confidential information), and nothing in its rules prevents such disclosure. It cannot conceivably be in the public interest to withhold those documents which have been already been relied upon "in open court" as it were.

As set out above, I consider that there a number of deficiencies in the decision, and request that it be reviewed.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,
Matthew Jackson

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

Dear Mr Jackson,

Receipt is acknowledged of your email of 6 November 2017 and we can confirm that an internal review will be conducted into the handling and response provided to your request for information (referenced above).

The Department's target for completing internal reviews is 20 working days and we therefore aim to complete the review and respond to you by 29 November. However, while we are working hard to achieve this, in the interests of providing you with a more realistic indication of when you should expect a response, we should advise that the majority are currently taking between 20 and 40 working days to complete.

The review will involve a full, independent reconsideration of the handling of the case as well as the final decision.

Yours sincerely,

MOD Information Rights Compliance Team

Bennett, Jory (ISS Des-CMI-IR Compliance1-KIM),

Dear Mr Jackson,

For "29 November" please read "5 December" in our last communication.

Yours sincerely,

MOD Information Rights Compliance Team

Dear Mr Bennett,

Thank you for your email of 7th November regarding the internal review into this matter. I make today the 40th working day during which it was indicated the review would take place.

Please can you update me on the progress of the internal review by return?

Yours sincerely,
Matthew Jackson

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

Dear Mr Jackson,

Thank you for your enquiry. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to provide you with a final response to your complaint at the moment although we fully intend to do so within the next 40 working days. We are currently experiencing a heavy demand on our resources at the moment.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not specify an actual timescale for reviews. However, if you are dissatisfied with the conduct of the review, you have an absolute right at any time to escalate your complaint to the Information Commissioner under the provisions of Section 50 of the Act.

Further details of the role and powers of the Commissioner can be found on her website at: www.ico.org.uk . Her address is: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, WILMSLOW, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

MOD Information Rights Compliance Team

CIO-FOI-IR (MULTIUSER),

1 Atodiad

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    20180315 Rev Jackson MOD correspondence between MOD SDT SPA and MOJ Rev response.pdf

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