Emails between Sukhi Panesar & Eleanor Hodge.

John Clark made this Freedom of Information request to St Mary's University, Twickenham

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

Waiting for an internal review by St Mary's University, Twickenham of their handling of this request.

Dear St Mary's University, Twickenham,

Can you please tell me how many emails Sukhi Panesar sent to:

1. Jo Blunden
2. Annalise Gordon
3. Eleanor Hodge

Between the 10th March 2020 to 18th December 2020.

Can you please provide all email exchanges between Sukhi Panesar and Eleanor Hodge between the 14th March 2020 to 18th December 2020?

The reason for this is to better understand the rationale why St Mary's University charged students for accomodation up to the 8th April 2020 in which time St Mary's University told them to vacate their rooms and go home in March 2020 & the reason why St Mary's University failed to refund students their membership fees for the gymnasium that St Mary's University closed on the governments instruction on or around the 18th March 2020.

Yours faithfully,

John Clark

Dear St Mary's University, Twickenham,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of St Mary's University, Twickenham's handling of my FOI request 'Emails between Sukhi Panesar & Eleanor Hodge.'.

This request is long overdue.

Can you please make this a priority?

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

Yours faithfully,

John Clark

Dear Freedom of Information Officer.

Despite endless communication, appeals and internal reviews, you have failed to provide the information that I have requested under the FOI act.

You are aware that I am assisting a student with a complaint regarding overcharging for accommodation during the first coronavirus lockdown and this case is set to be heard with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) in the coming months.

I'm making a formal complaint to the ICO that your public body is refusing to answer my FOI requests in an attempt to not only hide this information from me but in an attempt to delay making this information available to the OIA to support the students case.

Yours sincerely,

John Clark.

Andrew Browning, St Mary's University, Twickenham

Dear Sir

I refer to the below FOI request.

This request is declined as we believe any such correspondence is covered by Legal Professional Privilege and is therefore not disclosable under section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Sukhi Panesar is a employed by the University as a Legal Advisor and is a practising solicitor. Any correspondence between her and Eleanor Hodge is subject to either Litigation or Advice Privilege.

If you are unhappy with this decision you can make representations to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Browning
University Secretary and Head of Governance
Office of the Vice Chancellor
St Mary’s University, Waldegrave Road, TW1 4SX
[email address]

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Dear Sir

There is no legal authority that grants a public authority total immunity from releasing emails that are in the public interest between the public authority's solicitor and the public authority's staff.

As you will be aware there is much legal authority is in this area,
as an example, Ittihadieh -v- 5-11 Cheyne Gardens is one such authority.

Moreover, as an example, the Scottish authority (much like the English authority) shows that a public authority cannot operate a blanket ban of data (and information of this type):
A web link to assist: https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/ne...

You will be aware that I am assisting a student (and potentially more students) in a case with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) involving the alleged overcharging of accommodation between the 24th March 2020 to the 8th April 2020 in which your university told students to vacate their accommodation and go home in a YouTube broadcast due to the coronavirus laws.

Clearly, these emails will shed further light on internal discussions at the time of the overcharging dispute therefore would meet the public interest test. There is no dispute that St Mary's University has obtained money from students exceeding £200,000 and it is alleged you have no claim to this money (hence the public interest).

I put to you that the refusal of this request is simply to frustrate the information which can be made available to the OIA and attempt to bolster your case. There is no doubt that these emails would be helpful to the OIA and the wider public.

I wish to make an internal review on this matter and suggest that a fresh pair of eyes conducts this review.

Yours sincerely,

John Clark