From Sunderland: Scientology NNDR legal advice

William Thackeray made this Freedom of Information request to Camden Borough Council

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

Camden Borough Council did not have the information requested.

Dear Camden Borough Council,

My query concerns applications for mandatory and/or discretionary relief from National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR - business rates) by Church of Scientology Religious Education College Incorporated (COSREC), an Australian corporation which, though the Charity Commissioners say it does not qualify for registration as a charity, claims to be 'for charitable purposes'.

These applications have been received by various councils around the UK, including Camden.

Tax relief paid to date amounts to around £1.5m, so this is a matter of some considerable public interest, particularly given that the High Court has declared that the Scientology cult is an anti-social organisation.

It is my understanding that Camden received such an application, that it consulted with Sunderland Council (which had also received such an application), and that Camden requested Sunderland Council send Camden a copy of the legal advice which Sunderland had received concerning this issue.

I ask that you provide me with a copy of that legal advice, together with any accompanying documents and correspondence regarding it.

I would point out that the exemption in FOIA for legal professional privilege (LPP) applies only to documents sent from lawyer to client. As Sunderland Council is not a law firm, and Camden is not its client, the LPP exemption clearly does not apply in this case.

Please send the information in electronic format to this email address.

Thank you for your assistance with this matter.

Yours faithfully,

William Thackeray

Michael Warby, Camden Borough Council

1 Attachment

Camden Council - Information request (FOI/EIR) - Central team

Our reference: 7325897

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Dear Mr. Thackeray

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

Thank you for your recent Freedom of Information request received on 2
September 2011

You requested information on:

My query concerns applications for mandatory and/or discretionary relief
from National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR - business rates) by Church of
Scientology Religious Education College Incorporated (COSREC), an
Australian corporation which, though the Charity Commissioners say it does
not qualify for registration as a charity, claims to be 'for charitable
purposes'.
These applications have been received by various councils around the UK,
including Camden.
Tax relief paid to date amounts to around -L-1.5m, so this is a matter of
some considerable public interest, particularly given that the High Court
has declared that the Scientology cult is an anti-social organisation.
It is my understanding that Camden received such an application, that it
consulted with Sunderland Council (which had also received such an
application), and that Camden requested Sunderland Council send Camden a
copy of the legal advice which Sunderland had
received concerning this issue.
I ask that you provide me with a copy of that legal advice, together with
any accompanying documents and correspondence regarding it.
I would point out that the exemption in FOIA for legal professional
privilege (LPP) applies only to documents sent from lawyer to client. As
Sunderland Council is not a law firm, and Camden is not its client, the
LPP exemption clearly does not apply in this case.

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font
size. If you require alternative formats, e.g. language, audio, large
print, etc. then please let me know.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an
assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then it will not
be released. You will be informed if this is the case.

If the information you request was obtained from or relates to a third
party then they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on
whether or not to release the information to you.

In some cases there may a fee payable for the information requested. This
will be considered and you will be informed of the fee payable if this is
the case. In this event the fee must be paid before the information is
processed and released. The 20 day time limit for responses is put on hold
until receipt of the payment.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me.
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely

Michael Warby
Access to Information Officer - FOI & DPA

Email: [email address]
Phone: 020 7974 7857

Michael Warby, Camden Borough Council

1 Attachment

Camden Council - Information request (FOI/EIR) - Central team

Our reference: 7325897

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Mr. Thackeray

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000

Your request for information, received on 2 September 2011 that was for
the following: 

My query concerns applications for mandatory and/or discretionary relief
from National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR - business rates) by Church of
Scientology Religious Education College Incorporated (COSREC), an
Australian corporation which, though the Charity Commissioners say it does
not qualify for registration as a charity, claims to be 'for charitable
purposes'.
These applications have been received by various councils around the UK,
including Camden.
Tax relief paid to date amounts to around ?1.5m, so this is a matter of
some considerable public interest, particularly given that the High Court
has declared that the Scientology cult is an anti-social organisation.
It is my understanding that Camden received such an application, that it
consulted with Sunderland Council (which had also received such an
application), and that Camden requested Sunderland Council send Camden a
copy of the legal advice which Sunderland had
received concerning this issue.
I ask that you provide me with a copy of that legal advice, together with
any accompanying documents and correspondence regarding it.
I would point out that the exemption in FOIA for legal professional
privilege (LPP) applies only to documents sent from lawyer to client. As
Sunderland Council is not a law firm, and Camden is not its client, the
LPP exemption clearly does not apply in this case.
Response
Your request has now been considered however in accordance with Section
1(1) (a) of the Freedom of Information Act I am obliged to inform you
that the information you requested is not held by Camden Council. The
London Borough of Camden did not consult with Sunderland Council
concerning the subject of the Church of Scientology Religious Education
College.

Please note you are not authorised to re-use this information for
commercial or research purposes as defined by the Re-Use of Public Sector
Regulations 2005. If you do wish to re-use this information please contact
the Information Access Team, Legal Services/ Second Floor, Camden Town
Hall, Judd Street, London WC1H 9JE, who will assess your request. 

You have the right of appeal against the decision. If you wish to appeal
please set out in writing your grounds of appeal (within 2 months of this
letter) and send it to: Freedom of Information Appeals Panel, Central
Complaints Unit, Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, London WC1H 9JE and your
complaint will be dealt with through our Internal Review procedure.
 
If you are still not satisfied following the Internal Review, you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office. They can be
contacted at: Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AF.
Telephone: 01625 545 700
[1]www.ico.gov.uk
Yours sincerely

Michael Warby
Access to Information Officer - FOI & DPA

Email: [email address]
Phone: 020 7974 7857
 
 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.gov.uk/

William Thackeray

Dear Michael,

OK, many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

William Thackeray

Warby, Michael, Camden Borough Council

Thank you for your e-mail. I am currently out of the office and will
return on 6th October 2011. E-mails sent to my in box will not be checked
until I return to the office.

If your e-mail is urgent please contact my manager Vinod Mandora via
e-mail at [email address]