Dransfield v The Information Commissioner: CA 14 May 2015

Appeals raised the question of the scope of the power of a public authority to reject a request under the 2000 Act and, in addition, under the 2004 Regulations on the grounds that the request was ‘vexatious’ and ‘manifestly unreasonable’.
Held: The claimant’s appeals were dismissd. The court gave guidance as to the exercise of the discretion given to authorities in rejecting information requests as vexatious or manifestly unreasonable.
The Acts had disapplied for this purpose a fundamental proposition of law, namely that a bad motive for exercising a right would not invalidate its exercise. An authority should use an objective standard. With the starting point that vexatiousness would principally involve making a request with no reasonable foundation for thinking that the information sought would be of value to the requester, or to the public or any section thereof. Parliament had chosen a strong word which therefore meant that the hurdle of satisfying it was a high one, which was consistent with the constitutional nature of the right.

Arden, Gloster, Macur LJJ
[2015] EWCA Civ 454, [2015] WLR(D) 215, [2016] 3 All ER 221, [2016] Env LR 9, [2015] 1 WLR 5316
Bailii, WLRD
Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004
England and Wales
CitedMayor of Bradford v Pickles HL 29-Jul-1895
The plaintiffs sought an injunction to prevent the defendant interfering with the supply of water to the city. He would have done so entirely by actions on his own land.
Held: The plaintiffs could have no property in the water until it came on . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 30 December 2021; Ref: scu.546768