Kennedy v The Charity Commission: SC 26 Mar 2014

The claimant journalist sought disclosure of papers acquired by the respondent in its conduct of enquiries into the charitable Mariam appeal. The Commission referred to an absolute exemption under section 32(2) of the 2000 Act, saying that the exemption continued until the papers were destroyed, or for 20 years under the 1958 Act.
Held: The claim failed. As a matter of ordinary common law construction, the construction is clear: section 32 was intended to provide an absolute exemption which would not cease abruptly at the end of the court, arbitration or inquiry proceedings, but would continue until the relevant documents became historical records; that however does not mean that the information held by the Charity Commission as a result of its inquiries may not be required to be disclosed outside section 32 under other statutory and/or common law powers preserved by section 78 of the FOIA. The claim had been argued on the basis that section 32 of the FOIA can and should be read down to have a meaning contrary to that which Parliament clearly intended. It followed that no basis existed for any declaration of incompatibility with article 10 of the Convention.
Lord Toulson said: ‘it was not the purpose of the Human Rights Act that the common law should become an ossuary’.
Orse Kennedy v Information Commissioner (Secretary of State for Justice intervening)


Lord Neuberger, President, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath, Lord Toulson


[2014] UKSC 20, [2015] 1 AC 455, [2014] EMLR 19, [2014] HRLR 14, [2014] WLR(D) 143, [2014] 2 All ER 847, [2014] 2 WLR 808, UKSC 2012/0122


Bailii, SC, SC Summary


Freedom of Information Act 2000 32(2), Public Records Act 1958 3, Charities Act 1993, Charities Act 2006, European Convention on Human Rights 2 10, Inquiries Act 2005


England and Wales


At Information TribunalKennedy v Information Commissioner IT 14-Jun-2009
The claimant sought release of documents placed with the Charity Commission in connection with investigations into a charity.
Held: With certain exceptions, the applicaion failed: ‘once a public authority places documents it held prior to an . .
At AdminKennedy v Information Commissioner Admn 19-Jan-2010
The claimant journalist had made a freedom of information request to the Charity Commission as to its investigations of a charity under section 8 of the 1993 Act. The Commission claimed absolute exemption under section 32(2). He now appealed against . .
Appeal fromKennedy v The Information Commissioner and Another CA 12-May-2011
The claimant, a journalist, sought further information from the Charity Commission after the release of three investigations into the ‘Mariam Appeal’ and questions about the source and use of its funds. The Commission replied that it was exempt . .
CitedGuardian News and Media Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court CA 3-Apr-2012
The newspaper applied for leave to access documents referred to but not released during the course of extradition proceedings in open court.
Held: The application was to be allowed. Though extradition proceedings were not governed by the Civil . .
CitedAli Shipping Corporation v Shipyard Trogir CA 19-Dec-1997
In the case of an arbitration, there is a strong contractual presumption in favour of confidentiality and against non-disclosure. But this may be overridden by a court where necessary to protect a party’s rights against a third party or in other . .
CitedDepartment of Economic Policy and Development of City of Moscow and Another v Bankers Trust Company and Another CA 25-Mar-2004
The word ‘private’ in rule 39.2 means the same as ‘secret’. Lord Justice Mance said: ‘It may be equated with the old ‘in camera’ procedure, rather than the old ‘in chambers’ procedure.’ Privacy and confidentiality are features long assumed to be . .
CitedDoherty and others v Birmingham City Council HL 30-Jul-2008
The House was asked ‘whether a local authority can obtain a summary order for possession against an occupier of a site which it owns and has been used for many years as a gipsy and travellers’ caravan site. His licence to occupy the site has come to . .
CitedKay And Others v United Kingdom ECHR 17-Oct-2008
. .
CitedManchester City Council v Pinnock SC 3-Nov-2010
The tenant had been secure but had his tenancy had been reduced to an insecure demoted tenancy after he was accused of anti-social behaviour. He had not himself been accused of any misbehaviour, but it was said that he should have controlled his . .
CitedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedDerbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others HL 18-Feb-1993
Local Council may not Sue in Defamation
Local Authorities must be open to criticism as political and administrative bodies, and so cannot be allowed to sue in defamation. Such a right would operate as ‘a chill factor’ on free speech. Freedom of speech was the underlying value which . .
CitedCrampton v Secretary of State for Health CA 9-Jul-1993
. .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Health, Ex Parte Wagstaff etc QBD 31-Aug-2000
The Secretary of State announced a public enquiry into the Shipman case. He did not say whether it would be a public enquiry. The bereaved families and media wanted it to be public, and contended that it had been invalidly constituted, that an . .
CitedRegina (Persey and Others) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Admn 15-Mar-2002
The applicants sought an order that the government enquiries into the foot and mouth outbreak should be held in public. They argued that the need to re-establish public faith made a decision not to hold the enquiries in public irrational, and that a . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Bugdaycay HL 19-Feb-1986
Three applicants had lied on entry to secure admission, stayed for a considerable time, and had been treated as illegal immigrants under section 33(1). The fourth’s claim that upon being returned he would been killed, had been rejected without . .
CitedRegina v Ministry of Defence ex parte Smith; ex parte Grady CA 3-Nov-1995
Four appellants challenged the policy of the ministry to discharge homosexuals from the armed services.
Held: Where a measure affects fundamental rights or has profoundly intrusive effects, the courts will anxiously scrutinise the decision to . .
CitedSmith and Grady v The United Kingdom ECHR 27-Sep-1999
The United Kingdom’s ban on homosexuals within the armed forces was a breach of the applicants’ right to respect for their private and family life. Applicants had also been denied an effective remedy under the Convention. The investigations into . .
CitedRegina (on the Application of Q and others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 18-Mar-2003
The Home Secretary appealed a ruling that his implementation of section 55 was unlawful, having been said to be incompatible with human rights law.
Held: The way in which the section had been operated, by denying consideration and all benefits . .
CitedOffice of Fair Trading and others v IBA Health Limited CA 19-Feb-2004
The OFT had considered whether it was necessary to refer a merger between two companies to the Competition Commission, and decided against. The Competition Appeal Tribunal held that the proposed merger should have been referred. The OFT and parties . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Health ex parte Eastside Cheese Company (a Firm) and R A Duckett and Co Interested CA 1-Jul-1999
The respondent had made an order banning the processing of milk products from the interested party’s farm into cheese products. Cheese manufacturers objected to the order. The order had been held unlawful, and the Secretary of State now appealed. . .
CitedSinclair Collis Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v The Secretary of State for Health CA 17-Jun-2011
The claimants sought to challenge the validity of rules brought in under the 2009 Act as to the placement of cigarette vending machines in retail outlets. They said it was a a national measure restricting the free movement of goods. The . .
CitedRegina v Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and Another Ex Parte First City trading Etc QBD 20-Dec-1996
EU law principles do not apply in domestic law unless implementing EU law. Laws J said that: ‘Wednesbury and European review are two different models – one looser, one tighter -of the same juridical concept, which is the imposition of compulsory . .
CitedLeander v Sweden ECHR 26-Mar-1987
Mr Leander had been refused employment at a museum located on a naval base, having been assessed as a security risk on the basis of information stored on a register maintained by State security services that had not been disclosed him. Mr Leander . .
CitedGaskin v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Jul-1989
The applicant complained of ill-treatment while he was in the care of a local authority and living with foster parents. He sought access to his case records held by the local authority but his request was denied.
Held: The refusal to allow him . .
CitedGuerra and Others v Italy ECHR 19-Feb-1998
(Grand Chamber) The applicants lived about 1km from a chemical factory which produced fertilizers and other chemicals and was classified as ‘high risk’ in criteria set out by Presidential Decree.
Held: Failure by a government to release to an . .
CitedRoche v The United Kingdom ECHR 19-Oct-2005
(Grand Chamber) The claimant had been exposed to harmful chemicals whilst in the Army at Porton Down in 1953. He had wished to claim a service pension on the basis of the ensuing personal injury, but had been frustrated by many years of the . .
CitedSecretary of State for Defence v Al-Skeini and others (The Redress Trust Intervening) HL 13-Jun-2007
Complaints were made as to the deaths of six Iraqi civilians which were the result of actions by a member or members of the British armed forces in Basra. One of them, Mr Baha Mousa, had died as a result of severe maltreatment in a prison occupied . .
CitedSecretary of State for the Home Department v AF AN and AE (No 3) HL 10-Jun-2009
The applicants complained that they had been made subject to non-derogating control orders as suspected terrorists, but that the failure to inform them of the allegations or evidence against them was unfair and infringed their human rights. The . .
CitedSmith, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Defence and Oxfordshire Assistant Deputy Coroner (Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening) SC 30-Jun-2010
The deceased soldier died of heat exhaustion whilst on active service in Iraq. It was said that he was owed a duty under human rights laws, and that any coroner’s inquest should be a fuller one to satisfy the state’s duty under Article 2.
CitedRabone and Another v Pennine Care NHS Foundation SC 8-Feb-2012
The claimant’s daughter had committed suicide whilst on home leave from a hospital where she had stayed as a voluntary patient with depression. Her admission had followed a suicide attempt. The hospital admitted negligence but denied that it owed . .
CitedSugar v British Broadcasting Corporation and Another (2) SC 15-Feb-2012
The claimant sought release of a report prepared by the respondent as to its coverage of the Arab/Israel conflict partly for journalistic purposes, and partly for compliance.
Held: The appeal failed. Where the report was prepared even if only . .
CitedSmith and Others v The Ministry of Defence SC 19-Jun-2013
The claimants were PRs of men who had died or were severely injured on active duty in Iraq being variously fired at by mistake by other coalition forces, or dying in vehicles attacked by roadside bombs. Appeals were heard against a finding that the . .
CitedSturnham, Regina (on The Application of) v The Parole Board of England and Wales and Another (No 2) SC 3-Jul-2013
From 4 April 2005 until 3 December 2012, English law provided for the imposition of sentences of imprisonment for public protection (‘IPP’). The Court addressed the practical and legal issues resulting from the new system.
Held: The decision . .
CitedMatky v Czech Republic ECHR 10-Jul-2006
(French Text) Members of an environmental group sought access to the original project documents lodged with a government department. They wanted to compare the plans with revised plans which were currently the subject of an environmental assessment. . .
CitedTarsasag A Szabadsagjogokert v Hungary ECHR 13-Nov-2008
The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union sought access to details of a legal challenge filed by a Hungarian parliamentarian in the Hungarian Constitutional Court concerning the constitutionality of legislative amendments to the Hungarian Criminal Code. . .
CitedKenedi v Hungary ECHR 26-May-2009
(Second Chamber) The applicant historian specialised in the analysis and recording of the secret services of dictatorships, comparative studies of the political police forces of totalitarian regimes and the functioning of Soviet-type States. The . .
CitedGillberg v Sweden ECHR 2-Nov-2010
The applicant, professor in adolescent psychiatry had collected assorted data after having given undertakings to the parents of the children as to its absolute privacy. A sociologist had applied for and been given authority for its release by the . .
CitedShapovalov v Ukraine ECHR 31-Jul-2012
The claimant, a Ukrainian journalist said that he had (contrary to the Ukranian Information Act 1992) been refused access by administrative authorities during the 2004 elections to certain information and meetings. He relied on article 6 because the . .
CitedYouth Initiative For Human Rights v Serbia ECHR 25-Jun-2013
The Court heard of a refusal by the Serbian intelligence agency to provide the complainant with information as to how many people had been the subject of electronic surveillance by the agency. The Serbian Information Commissioner – whose role was to . .
CitedOsterreichische Vereinigung Zur Erhaltung, Starkung Und Schaffung v Austria ECHR 28-Nov-2013
All agricultural and forest land transactions in Austria required approval by local and regional authorities (in the Tyrol, the Tyrol Real Property Transactions Commission), the aim being to preserve land for agriculture and forestry and avoid the . .

Cited by:

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The appellant a British Citizen awaited execution in Singapore after conviction on a drugs charge. The only way she might get legal help for a further appeal would be if she was given legal aid by the respondent. She sought assistance both on Human . .
CitedA v British Broadcasting Corporation (Scotland) SC 8-May-2014
Anonymised Party to Proceedings
The BBC challenged an order made by the Court of Session in judicial review proceedings, permitting the applicant review to delete his name and address and substituting letters of the alphabet, in the exercise (or, as the BBC argues, purported . .
CitedYoussef v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs SC 27-Jan-2016
An Egyptian national, had lived here since 1994. He challenged a decision by the Secretary of State,as a member of the committee of the United Nations Security Council, known as the Resolution 1267 Committee or Sanctions Committee. The committee . .
CitedMichalak v General Medical Council and Others SC 1-Nov-2017
Dr M had successfully challenged her dismissal and recovered damages for unfair dismissal and race discrimination. In the interim, Her employer HA had reported the dismissal to the respondent who continued their proceedings despite the decision in . .
CitedDover District Council v CPRE Kent SC 6-Dec-2017
‘When a local planning authority against the advice of its own professional advisers grants permission for a controversial development, what legal duty, if any, does it have to state the reasons for its decision, and in how much detail? Is such a . .
CitedAhuja v Politika Novine I Magazini Doo and Others QBD 23-Nov-2015
Action for misuse of private information and libel. Application to have set aside leave to serve out of the jurisdiction. The defendant published a newspaper in Serbian, in print in Serbia and online. Though in Serbian, the claimant said that online . .
CitedJalloh, Regina (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department SC 12-Feb-2020
Claim for damages for false imprisonment brought in judicial review proceedings challenging the legality of a curfew imposed upon the claimant, purportedly under paragraph 2(5) of Schedule 3 to the Immigration Act 1971.
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CitedElgizouli v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 25-Mar-2020
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Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Charity, Information, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 07 August 2022; Ref: scu.523195