Costs paid to Weightmans solicitors defending County Court claim C1QZ56W6

The request was partially successful.

Please supply the following information:

1. Total billed by Weightmans to North Yorkshire Police (or NYPCC) for all work done by Weightmans up to and including close of business on 8th August, 2016 (This request, under FOIA, will be deemed to have been received on 9th August, 2016) in connection with county court claim number C1QZ56W6. Listed as Neil Wilby -v- Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police. Invoices should be disclosed where available.

2. Name of all senior NYP officer(s), or solicitor(s), instructing Weightmans.

3. Rationale for instructing the senior partner of a Leeds-based Top 45 law firm to deal with a low value money claim. Copies of all documents supporting that rationale.

4. Budget allocated to defending the claim. Copies of all documents that refer to, and justify, that sum.

Civil Disclosure, North Yorkshire Police

Classification: PROTECT

Good afternoon,

I write to confirm the receipt of your Request for Information. This has been logged under the reference 438.2016-17. If you have any queries whilst awaiting a response, please write in quoting the reference number stated above.

Kind regards,

Robert Bates
Collar Number 5480
Legal Officer (Civil Disclosure)
North Yorkshire Police

Committed to the Code of Ethics
 
Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number. If using my collar number please state each number individually.
 
Web: www.northyorkshire.police.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/NorthYorkshirePolice
Twitter: www.twitter.com/NYorksPolice

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Williams, Caroline, North Yorkshire Police

1 Attachment

Classification: PROTECT

Dear Mr Wilby,

 

Please find attached a reply to your Freedom of Information request
438.2016-17.

 

Regards

 

Caroline Williams

Legal Officer (Civil Disclosure)

Collar Number 5982

Joint Corporate Legal Services

North Yorkshire Police

 

Committed to the Code of Ethics

 

Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number. 
If using my collar number, please state each number individually.

 

438.2016-17 Response.pdf
PROTECT

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Dear North Yorkshire Police,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of North Yorkshire Police's handling of my FOI request 'Costs paid to Weightmans solicitors defending County Court claim C1QZ56W6'.

The grounds are as follows:

1. The force has misdirected itself by relying on a S40(5)(b) as an exemption.

a. The request makes plain that a county court claim exists, names the parties (the requester and the data controller) and the court reference number. This is information already publicly available.

b. There is no reasonable expectation that the data subject would object to the data controller confirming that the claim exists. Thus, simply adding to the information already in the public domain

c. Parties to court action do not have any right to anonymity, unless there are exceptional reasons and leave is given by the court upon application. No such application has been made to the court by either party.

d. There has also been an article written about the claim that names the parties and the reference number. It was published on the internet on 10th June, 2016. Two months before this request was submitted:

https://neilwilby.com/2016/06/10/chief-c...

e. There is, therefore, no disclosure of personal information by confirming or denying that a claim had been made. The 'personal information' is already widely available and the claim is to be determined at a public hearing in Huddersfield County Court.

f. The public interest in this case is considerable. Both in terms of its novelty and the far reaching implications for other data controllers. The article referred to at 1d has attracted widespread comment. The requester is a well known justice campaigner and investigative journalist. There is no conceivable unfairness (or harm) in making his personal information widely available by confirming the existence of the court case.

2. It is submitted that the response to this request is so unreasonable as to meet the test of perverse and irrational.

3. It is further submitted that the rationale behind the decision provided to the requester does not concern data principles at all but is solely designed to prevent information, that would be harmful to the data controller's reputation, reaching the public domain. Either via a story written by the requester, or by broadcasting the link to this WhatDoTheyKnow correspondence trail on social media.

4. These submissions at 2. and 3. will go further to the evidence of misfeasance and discrimination by the data controller, already pleaded by the requester, in the county court claim that the defendant in that claim cannot confirm or deny exists.

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,

Neil Wilby

Civil Disclosure, North Yorkshire Police

Classification: PROTECT

Dear Mr Wilby,

Thank you for your internal review request, which has now been logged.

If you have any queries regarding this request please quote 438.2016-17 IR on your correspondence.

Regards

Caroline Williams
Legal Officer (Civil Disclosure)
Collar Number 5982
Joint Corporate Legal Services
North Yorkshire Police

Committed to the Code of Ethics

Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number. If using my collar number, please state each number individually.

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Malone, Ashley, North Yorkshire Police

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Wilby

 

Please find attached a response to your request for an internal review of
the Freedom of Information Act response to request 438.2016-17.

 

Kind Regards

 

Ashley Malone

Collar Number 4951

Police Lawyer (Civil Disclosure)

Solicitor

Joint Corporate Legal Services

North Yorkshire Police

Committed to the Code of Ethics

Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number.
If using my collar number please state each number individually.

 

www.northyorkshire.police.uk

 

 

THIS EMAIL AND ANY ATTACHMENT(S) MAY BE SUBJECT TO LEGAL PROFESSIONAL
PRIVILEGE - PLEASE DO NOT DISCLOSE THE CONTENT TO ANYONE ELSE WITHOUT
ASKING JOINT CORPORATE LEGAL SERVICES

 

 

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Dear North Yorkshire Police,

A S50 complaint has now been filed with the Information Commissioner's Office and acknowledged by them.

The grounds for complaint are as follows:

1. Firstly, the police lawyer finalising the internal review is Ms Ashley Malone. She is a deponent, and has appeared as a witness, in a civil civil claim in which I am claimant and NYP is defendant. The claim concerns breaches of the Act, and the Data Protection Act, by the data controller.

https://neilwilby.com/2016/06/10/chief-c...

2. Ms Malone's intervention in information requests and internal review finalisations, made by me, since she made her witness statement in that claim plainly lack objectivity and independence. It is an ethical and regulatory requirement that a solicitor cannot continue to act where she adopts the cause of a client.

3. The cause of Ms Malone's client in this particular civil claim includes an inherently absurd Defence, made on 15th July, 2016, that states that no information request has EVER been finalised as non-compliant by NYPCC and that all future requests will be compliant.

4. Since Ms Malone made that witness statement, the finalisations she has provided have all been variously unreasonable, perverse, irrational. The time, and financial, burden this has placed on me has been close to intolerable.

5. Of those finalisations (they include NYP and NYPCC requests) four have necessitated internal reviews, four have necessitated complaints to the ICO. Part of each and every complaint is the objection to the involvement of Ms Malone in any matters concerning my requests, whilst the proceedings referred to at para 1 are extant.

6. This conduct and the unlawful, unethical, discriminatory approach to finalising my requests or reviews, it is submitted with increasing force as part of this complaint, is part of a wider and persistent campaign by NYPCC (and NYP) to cause distress, vex and annoy. This is a complaint I have made to NYPCC (and NYP) and the ICO repeatedly, in writing, over the past six months.

7. More particularly, in the instant complaint, Ms Malone has abdicated her responsibility under the Act, Authorised Professional Practice and ICO Guidance in not reviewing the information request afresh. Nor has she addressed the complaints at all at 1a, b or c. 2 or 3. There is a clear duty to do so.

8. Her unevidenced assertions in (partly) answering 1d appear to have no basis in fact or evidence. If an article is pubished on a well-read website (it is also posted on the North Yorkshire Enquirer website) and links to articles are posted (and re-posted) on social media (mainly Twitter and Facebook) then there can be little doubt that the subject matter is in the public domain. That position is underscored by the presence of all the personal information concerning the county court claim being present on this hugely popular website (WhatDoTheyKnow).

9. Further, and in any event, here have been two public hearings of the county court claim already. There is to be a third in January, 2017. Ms Malone was present at the second of those hearings in her capacity as a witness for the defendant. The information requested (details of Weightmans fees) has been filed with the court and served on me. They were also referred to in the hearings by counsel to the defendant. As such, the information can no longer be regarded as privileged.

10 Finally, I make the point that it would seem perverse to the independent observer that this internal review, and an almost identical one for NYPCC (439.2016.17), was carried out by the same disclosure officer (nothwithstanding the other reservations expressed concerning Ms Malone). In the interests of natural justice, a fair-minded supervisor would have allocated these cases to to different officers to establish whether different approaches in the two case still provided outcomes that were both consistent with the Act, Authorised Practice and ICO Guidance and with each other.

In summary, it is the overarching submission of the requester that the response to this internal review was carried out inappropriately, by an officer lacking the necessary independence; with ill-intent and with an outcome that is almost wholly misconceived under the requirements of the Act, ICO Guidance and Approved Professional Practice.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Wilby

Civil Disclosure, North Yorkshire Police

Good morning,

Please accept this message as acknowledgement of your email dated 23 October 2016.

Kind regards,

Robert Bates
Collar Number 5480
Legal Officer (Civil Disclosure)
North Yorkshire Police

Committed to the Code of Ethics
 
Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number. If using my collar number please state each number individually.
 
Web: www.northyorkshire.police.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/NorthYorkshirePolice
Twitter: www.twitter.com/NYorksPolice

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Malone, Ashley, North Yorkshire Police

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Wilby

 

Please see the attached response. You will note that we have amended our
position following your recent correspondence with the Information
Commissioners Office.

 

I have copied this response to the ICO for their information.

 

Regards

 

Ashley Malone

Collar Number 4951

Police Lawyer (Civil Disclosure)

Solicitor

Joint Corporate Legal Services

North Yorkshire Police

Committed to the Code of Ethics

Dial 101, press option 2 and ask for me by my full name or collar number.
If using my collar number please state each number individually.

 

www.northyorkshire.police.uk

 

 

THIS EMAIL AND ANY ATTACHMENT(S) MAY BE SUBJECT TO LEGAL PROFESSIONAL
PRIVILEGE - PLEASE DO NOT DISCLOSE THE CONTENT TO ANYONE ELSE WITHOUT
ASKING JOINT CORPORATE LEGAL SERVICES

 

 

 

show quoted sections

 

Dear Civil Disclosure,

The latest shift in the position of the data controller is noted.

Representations have been made today to the ICO as part of the ongoing complaint (Ref. FS50652013) concerning this matter.

Part of the submissions to the ICO concern Ashley Malone, the officer finalising the latest offering from NYP: Notably, the five other complaints - featuring her involvement in my information requests - that are presently being considered by the ICO; the unimpressive nature of her evidence at the final hearing of the county court claim in Huddersfield yesterday and the fact that she, seemingly, struggles with the finer points of DPA and FOIA.

However, please note that my right to internal review of the latest finalisation is reserved, pending the outcome of the ICO complaint.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Wilby
Investigative journalist

Neil Wilby left an annotation ()

An appeal against the Information Commissioner's Decision Notice DN50652013 has been filed with the General Regulatory Chamber.

It reflects the finding of the First Tier Tribunal into a challenge against DN50652012 concerning an identical request made to North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

The remedy sought is a Consent Order, the effect of which is to remove the cloak of Neither Confirm Nor Deny (section 40(5)(a)).

Judge David Farrer QC ruled that none of the four questions amounted to personal data.

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Good luck Neil Wilby,

The system is Byzantine and unfair to requesters.

It seems that once the ICO has made a wrongful Decision, nothing...including new compulsive evidence, will make it provide an apology.

Truly, ‘Sorry’ seems to be the hardest word. It would save so much time and public expense.

:::

I am trying to find out why the ICO , presumably tasked with providing justice, does not accept that it is unfair to the ordinary requester not to correct the record.

Because that seems to me to be the position.

Or if it does, what procedure it undertakes to do so.

So I have asked if there is one:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

I think it’s reasonable to find out why there seems to be a lack of an organisational ability to apologise.
Simply on cost grounds.

Maybe it’s a legal process which the ICO must follow, or if it’s by customers, or choice.

However, the request is already flagged as ‘maybe vexatious or asking for personal information’, so maybe I will be precluded from finding out.

—�

The last time the ICO decided my request was vexatious in a similar situation, I took it to court.

And won.

Like you, I found the court fair and unbiased.
- Such a shock after being disbelieved at every step before.

The ICO didn’t bother to send a lawyer.

The evidence of the organisation - the PHSO- which the ICO presumably had to accept, even though by this time it had provably misinformed the ICO- was criticised by the court.

Why the ICO couldn’t have avoided court with compelling new evidence from an independent lawyer judging my PHSO complaint ( which was upheld) I don’t know.

As it was, the PHSO paid me £500 for the independently legally- judged botched internal complaint, which I had been trying to get properly assessed by making the ‘vexatious’ FOIA request.

:::

Before court, just an apology for providing misinformation would have sufficed - I would have been happy to let it go.

I even gave the PHSO three chances to correct it’s flawed evidence.

Rebuffed of course. And still no apology.

Again, sorry was the hardest word.



In addition, the PHSO then blamed the ICO for losing the case in a committee report.

So I would have thought the ICO would have been more receptive to solid, logical evidence from a requester in future.
Apparently not.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

http://informationrights.decisions.tribu...

Now, organisations have learnt that by ‘timing out’ a potential referral to court after a decision, has made even that avenue futile.

Logically, because how can you prove that data which should exist does exist, to the court ....before the organisation finally hands it over? Clever eh?

JtOakley
Retired industrial editor ...and keeping my journalistic hand in occasionally.

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