QMUL’s upcoming appeal against the Information Commissioner’s decision on release of PACE trial data: 20 April 2016
Full details of the history and substance of this case can be found in my earlier post Queen Mary University of London to appeal Information Commissioner’s decision on disclosure of PACE trial data.
If you would like to learn more about how the process works, you can do so here FOIA: a Briefing Note + how many PACE requests?
On 20 April, the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) (page 6 of link) will hear Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)’s appeal against the Information Commissioner’s recent decision regarding the release of data from the controversial PACE tria
The hearing will take place in central London at the Residential Property Tribunal, Court H, 10 Alfred Place, London WC1E 7LR (just off Tottenham Court Road).
It is listed to last for three days. This is because QMUL (with the benefit of full legal representation) has requested a full hearing with witnesses to give live evidence, as is their right. The alternative shorter process is where the Tribunal considers the evidence on the papers alone and makes a decision from that without hearing from witnesses. This suggests that QMUL is taking this case very seriously.
Hearings are generally open to the public, unless the Tribunal is considering “closed material” (often the core subject matter of the case) at which point the court room will be cleared. That may or may not happen in this case.
However, it is important to remember that, as is the case with all legal proceedings, changes can – and do – frequently happen right up to the last minute.
The parties to this case are:
- QMUL – the Appellant
- The Information Commissioner – First Respondent
- Alem Matthees – Second Respondent. Mr Matthees (the original requestor of the data) requested that he be joined as a respondent to the proceedings, as is his right.
Any parties to the case who are unable to attend the hearing but wish to take part can request participation a live videolink.
The usual procedure is that the Tribunal hears the evidence and legal argument and then comes to a decision afterwards. The Tribunal consists of three people – a judge as the legally-qualified chair plus two lay members.
Judgment is not normally given at the time of the hearing as the Tribunal members have to discuss their conclusion. The judge will then write up the judgment which is generally served on the parties within three to four weeks from the conclusion of the hearing.
Any of the parties can appeal to the Upper Tribunal so the process is not necessarily over yet. The right to appeal is not automatic at this stage but is on a point of law only.
If the Tribunal orders that the information be disclosed, this must normally be done within 35 days of the date when judgment is served on the parties OR notice of appeal must be lodged.
Judgments are public documents and are made available via the Tribunals website.