Libel and the BDO report for HEFCE on LMU

The request was successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

This FOI requests concerns the final report by BDO Stoy Hayward LLP for HEFCE on BDO's independent audit of student records at London Metropolitan University.

In the response to a previous Freedom of Information request made to you for that report, you wrote:

"Please note that London Metropolitan University and/or certain of its governors/senior staff have advised that they consider part of this report to be defamatory and have indicated that they would be prepared to seek legal redress."

Please may I have:

a) The names of the bodies and or individuals who have so advised HEFCE.

b) A description of which sections/parts/paragraphs of the report contain the potentially defamatory material (avoiding further potential defamation by not actually quoting the material).

c) All records concerning the defamatory nature of the report.

According to the ICO guidance for Section 42 of FOIA, legal professional privilege "covers communications between lawyers and their clients for the purpose of obtaining legal dvice, or documents created by or for lawyers for the 'dominant' main purpose of litigation."

Therefore section 42 does not apply if the "governors/senior staff" are not lawyers.

Yours faithfully,

Francis Irving

James BUTTON [7220], Higher Education Funding Council for England

Dear Francis

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We will respond to your request as soon as possible and no later than 20 working days as required by the Act.

Best wishes

James Button
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
Tel: 0117 931 7220

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Alison MADGE (7270), Higher Education Funding Council for England

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Irving

Please see attached letter regarding your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000.

Best wishes
Alison

Alison Madge
Information Rights Manager
Higher Education Funding Council for England
Northavon House, Coldharbour Lane,
Bristol, BS16 1QD
email: [email address]

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Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

WhatDoTheyKnow has removed the substantive response from this correspondence thread as we were alerted to the fact it contained material some consider defamatory.

The response quoted extensively from the audit report about which HEFCE have said: "London Metropolitan University and/or certain of its governors/senior staff have advised that they consider part of this report to be defamatory and have indicated that they would be prepared to seek legal redress." The initial response, available above, specifically warns that the information released in response to this request may also contain defamatory material.

A response from LMU to a similar request, asking for precise details of the material in the audit report which is considered defamatory also contained potentially defamatory material, and has not enabled us to redact particular elements of the report before republishing it:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cl...

WhatDoTheyKnow only removes material from the site in exceptional circumstances, generally only when we are required to by law. We took legal advice on this matter and having considered our position have decided that we are not prepared to take what we have been advised is a very high level of risk involved in republishing it.

We have however been advised that we are able to pass the documents on to journalists.

[Note: The date of this annotation does not reflect the date at which the material was removed as our first step was to hide the entire thread. In the interests of transparency we have now republished the request and initial response.]

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Richard - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

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