Cost of Judicial Review Regarding Boris Johnson's WhatsApp Messages

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Cabinet Office,

I am writing to submit a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to obtain information regarding the cost incurred for the judicial review ordered by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, concerning the disclosure of all WhatsApp messages belonging to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

I kindly request that you provide the following information:

1 The total cost incurred for the judicial review, including any legal fees, administrative expenses, and associated costs.
2 A breakdown of the costs, specifying the different categories or components of expenditure.
3 Any additional expenses related to the review, such as consultancy fees or expert opinions.

I understand that the information I am requesting concerns matters of public interest and accountability, and I believe it is essential for citizens to have access to such information. I also acknowledge that the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires public authorities to respond to requests within 20 working days, as stipulated by Section 10 of the Act.

If any aspect of my request is unclear or requires further clarification to facilitate a prompt response, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I would prefer to receive the requested information in electronic format.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your timely response within the statutory timeframe.

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

Our ref: FOI2023/08535

Dear Amanda Hart,

Thank you for your request for information which was received on 13th
July. Your request is being handled under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 ('the Act').

The Act requires that a response must be given promptly, and in any event
within 20 working days. We will therefore aim to reply at the latest by
11th August.

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Cabinet Office

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

1 Atodiad

Dear Amanda Hart,

Please find attached our response to your recent Freedom of Information
request (reference FOI2023/08535).

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Cabinet Office

Dear Cabinet Office,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Cabinet Office's handling of my FOI request 'Cost of Judicial Review Regarding Boris Johnson's WhatsApp Messages'. Ref: FOI2023/08535.

In your response dated August 11, 2023, you indicated that certain information I had requested is being withheld under sections 22(1) and 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act. I respectfully disagree with the application of these exemptions for the following reasons:

1. Section 22(1) Exemption:
- Flaw: The response states that the information is intended for future publication, justifying its withholding.
- Counterpoint: The public interest in transparency, accountability, and informed public discourse should outweigh the interest in future publication, as outlined in my initial request.
- Flaw: The response suggests that releasing the information would disrupt the government's publication schedule.
- Counterpoint: While the scheduling of information releases is important, it should not supersede the obligation to provide timely responses to FOIA requests, as required by the Freedom of Information Act.

In alignment with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) guidelines on using Section 22 [https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio..., I draw attention to the criteria that the intention to publish must pre-date the request. This ensures that public authorities do not unduly delay responses by choosing future publication over the statutory time limits for addressing requests.

2. Section 43(2) Exemption:
- Flaw: The response asserts that releasing the breakdown of fees would likely harm the commercial interests of law firms and counsels' chambers.
- Counterpoint: The paramount public interest lies in understanding the allocation of public funds and ensuring accountability for government expenditures. Potential harm to commercial interests alone does not automatically justify withholding vital information.
- Flaw: The response implies that disclosing this information might discourage future solicitors and counsel from representing the department.
- Counterpoint: The public's right to information on government spending should prevail over speculative concerns about solicitors' decisions to represent the department.

I respectfully request an internal review of the decision to withhold information under sections 22(1) and 43(2) of the FOIA. Additionally, I kindly ask for access to the document that explicitly states the Cabinet Office's intention to release the specific information I sought in my original FOIA request, dated July 13, 2023.

I believe that a thorough reconsideration of the public interest and the legitimate concerns outlined above will lead to a different conclusion. I look forward to your review and your timely response. Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.

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,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

Dear Amanda Hart,

Thank you for your request for an internal review (reference
IR2023/09655), which was prompted by our response to your request for
information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We shall endeavour to complete the internal review and respond to you
within 20 working days.

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Team

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

Our ref: FOI2023/09707

Dear Amanda Hart,

Thank you for your request for information which was received on 11th
August. Your request is being handled under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 ('the Act').

We specifically refer to your request:

"Additionally, I kindly ask for access to the document that explicitly
states the Cabinet Office's intention to release the specific information
I sought in my original FOIA request, dated July 13, 2023."

The Act requires that a response must be given promptly, and in any event
within 20 working days. We will therefore aim to reply at the latest by
11th September.

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Cabinet Office

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

1 Atodiad

Dear Amanda Hart,

Please find attached our response to your recent Freedom of Information
request (reference FOI2023/09707).

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Cabinet Office

Dear Cabinet Office,

Thanks for your response to FOI2023/09707 which we appreciate. We shall take the contents of this into account along with the as yet outstanding internal review IR2023/09655 for ref FOI2023/08535 before making our decision on how to proceed.

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

Gadawodd Amanda Hart anodiad ()

Allow up to 13th October 2023 for internal review.

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

1 Atodiad

Dear Amanda Hart,

Please find attached our response to your request for an Internal Review
(reference IR2023/09655).

Yours sincerely,

FOI Team

Dear Cabinet Office,

I acknowledge the receipt of your internal review referenced as IR2023/09655. However, I must express our deep concern regarding the substantial number of legal flaws that persist within the document's contents. It appears that the review has chosen to uphold the original decision without due consideration of these critical issues.

In light of this, we have meticulously assembled a comprehensive case to challenge your refusal to release the information requested. We are confident that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) will find ample grounds to rectify this matter in our favour.

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart.

Gadawodd Amanda Hart anodiad ()

Reported to ICO.

Gadawodd Amanda Hart anodiad ()

We have today been informed the case ref for this is IC-262450-Z8B3.

Gadawodd Amanda Hart anodiad ()

ICO have informed us this case has now been assigned to an officer IC-262450-Z8B3

Gadawodd Amanda Hart anodiad ()

Next chase 27th January 2024.

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

1 Atodiad

Dear Ms Hart,
Please find attached a response in respect of the above case.
Kind regards,
FOI Team
Cabinet Office

Dear FOI Team Mailbox,

Re: Your communication dated 12th December ref IC 262450 Z8B3
Thanks very much for this information which we deeply appreciate. The public can now take this into account in the upcoming general election.

Yours faithfully,
Amanda Hart
Stop UK lies and Corruption.

Gadawodd David Phillips anodiad ()

The Tories have been getting away with their blatant corruption and lies for far too long. Let's vote them out ASAP.