Compromise Agreements - FOI / DPA related gagging clause

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Solicitors Regulation Authority

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Dear Solicitors Regulation Authority,

Following a number of FOI requests, I believe that some public bodies, following employment disputes, are including specific gagging / penalty clauses within compromise agreements. These demand that the signatory forgoes their statutory right to lodge Freedom of Information or Data Protection Act Subject Access requests in the future, and threaten to reclaim agreed payments in the event of any breach.

Please could you supply:

1. Any information which supports or adds substance to my belief

2. Any information to determine whether this practice effectively removes a person's statutory right

3. Any information which confirms whether it is legal or permissible to engage in this practce

I believe the practice is defensive in the extreme, erodes openness and transparency and is against the spirit of the 2000 FOI Act,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Joao Curro,

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information Request - Our Ref: FOI/BS/522

Thank you for your email dated 10 January 2011 to the Solicitors
Regulation Authority (SRA) requesting access to information. I am treating
your request for information under the Law Society Freedom of Information
Code of Practice ("the Code").

You have requested access to the following information:

1. Any information which supports or adds substance to my belief

2. Any information to determine whether this practice effectively
removes a person's statutory right

3. Any information which confirms whether it is legal or
permissible to engage in this practce

The SRA is a part of the Law Society but acts independently in carrying
out its regulatory functions. The Law Society is not covered by the
Freedom of Information Act (the FOIA) as it is not a designated authority,
but has adopted its own voluntary Code of Practice which closely reflects
the FOIA. The Code may be found at:
[1]http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/documents/d...

Unfortunately we do not hold the requested information. I suggest you seek
independent legal advice.

I am sorry I am unable to assist you further on this occasion.

Yours sincerely

Joao Curro
Information Compliance Officer - Legal Services
The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL
t: 020 7242 1222 (Ext 4539)
f: 020 7320 5685
[2]www.lawsociety.org.uk
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References

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Dear Joao Curro,

That's ok. I'll do this without your assistance. But before I go and get assistance elsewhere, can I suggest that you sign up FULLY to the concept of Freedom of Information, rather than indulging in worthless token gestures?

Openness and transparency may not be 'the now' but it is 'the future',

Paul Cardin