Dear Her Majesty's Courts Service,
I would like to make a freedom of information request for the answers to the following questions:
1. Is the court register, containing the outcome of criminal cases, and the details of upcoming cases, for Magistrates Court proceedings in Cambridge kept electronically?
2. What is the procedure for obtaining a copy of the court register for Magistrates Court proceedings in Cambridge?
Dear Mr Taylor,
Thank you for your e-mail. The Freedom of Information Act (2000) gives
individuals and organisations the right of access to all types of
recorded information held, at the time the request is received, by
public authorities such as the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). Section 84 of
the Act states that in order for a request for information to be handled
as a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, it must be for recorded
information. For example, a Freedom of Information request would be for
a copy of an policy, rather than an explanation as to why we have that
policy in place.
On occasion, Data Access and Compliance Unit receives requests for
information that do not ask for a copy of recorded information, but ask
more general questions about, for example, a policy, decision or
opinion. In these instances, another business unit would handle the
enquiry. I have assessed your correspondence and since it is of that
nature, I have passed on your request to our general queries team who
will be able to assist.
I would like to request an internal review into the apparent decision by HMCS to refuse to deal with my request for information under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.
I am seeking a response making clear if the HMCS holds the information I requested; and for it either to be released to me or for a decision notice citing exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act which are being relied upon to withhold it.
I note the ICO's guidance* to the public on making FOI requests states:
"Your request can be in the form of a question, rather than a request for specific documents, but the authority does not have to answer your question if this would mean creating new information or giving an opinion or judgement that is not already recorded."
It is my view that the request is for what I expect to be recorded information. If there is no recorded procedure for obtaining a copy of the court register for Cambridge Magistrate's court then that is what my response should, in the first instance, say.
I would of course be grateful for any further advice and assistance HMCS can give me in relation to the subject of my query.
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
Dear Mr Taylor,
Our last e-mail to you of 6 May advised that your request was not a
request for information under the Freedom of Information Act. This is
because your request asked if the court register is kept electronically
and what the procedure is for obtaining a copy of the court register.
These are not requests for recorded information but general questions.
As your request was not dealt with under the FOI regime, we are unable
to carry out an internal review.
However, you may wish to resubmit a FOI request if you are seeking
documents in a recorded format.
I have copied our general queries team into this e-mail as they are
taking your original request forward with the appropriate area of the
business who will arrange a response to you.
We work to defend the right to FOI for everyone
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