Dear Ministry of Justice,
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 Justice ("MoJ") to the Solicitors' Regulation Authority ("SRA") or the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ("SDT");
(ii) Sent from the SRA or SDT to the MoJ;
(iii) Sent from the MoJ to the Ministry of Defence ("MoD"); or
(iv) Sent from the MoD to the MoJ
(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.
Dear Mr Jackson
Please find attached response to your question under the Freedom of
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Dear Ministry of Justice,
Thank you for your letter dated 3rd October 2017. I am writing to request an internal review of Ministry of Justice's handling of my FOI request 'Communications between MoJ, MoD and SRA about Leigh Day'.
Within the letter refusing my request you state:
"We believe that the appropriate cost limit would be exceeded in asking numerous staff in several different parts of the MoJ to look through all emails, and copies of written communications, sent and received over the last number of years, to check which ones [met the terms of my request]".
This appears to misleadingly state that in order to comply with the request, it would be necessary for each and every email sent to or from the MoJ to be scrutinised in order to comply with the request. There are a number of entirely straightforward matters which would not require this amount of time. These include (but are not limited to):
(1) Undertaking a database search limiting emails sent and received by domain such as "@sra.org.uk", "@mod.gov.uk" etc;
(2) Limiting the emails queried to those ministers and civil servants who have direct involvement with the investigation and prosecution of the Parties. The identities of these parties must be known to the MoJ and as I am sure you are aware, information known to the authority to whom the request is made must be used when considering a request. In this regard I refer you to paragraph 23 of the ICO's guidance for the exemption you rely upon in section 12 (1) FOIA which states:
"A sensible and realistic estimate is one which is based on the specific circumstances of the case. In other words, it should not be based on general assumptions, for example, that all records would need to be searched in order to obtain the requested information when it is likely that staff in the relevant department"; and,
(3) Limiting the database search to emails which were sent externally to the MoJ, as you will note I do not request any internal emails.
Each of these steps would significantly limit the number of emails required to be considered. I must say that the initial refusal appears to be an attempt to artificially inflate the amount of work required in order to avoid the need to consider the further exceptions in FOIA, which I am sure you will also be considering.
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...
I look forward to your reply.