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QMUL’s upcoming appeal against the Information Commissioner’s decision on release of PACE trial data: 20 April 2016

April 14, 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).

The hearing

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 

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 Judgment 

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.




11 Comments leave one →
  1. Magdalena permalink
    April 14, 2016 15:45

    thank you so much, super helpful and warmly appreciated 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sally permalink
    April 14, 2016 16:49

    Thank you for explaining. Sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chris permalink
    April 14, 2016 22:37

    Thank you for breaking this down, appreciated.


  4. Elizabeth Corran permalink
    April 16, 2016 00:02

    Thanks for info – and thanks to those who are fighting for this to be made public – so so important for us all


  5. Steve Hawkins permalink
    April 17, 2016 19:21

    Thanks for the update Valerie. (y)

    No doubt, if they lose, they’ll wait out the full month before putting in yet another appeal at the last minute.

    Surely all this must make the tribunal very suspicious that they have something to hide!


  6. April 18, 2016 17:57

    Thanks very much Valerie for updating and explaining the court process.

    Hopefully you or someone else knowledgeable from the ME community are able to go and view the court case to ensure that the truth and no lies are told.


  7. April 22, 2016 17:40

    Thank you SO much for sharing

    Liked by 1 person


  1. QMUL v the Information Commissioner and Matthees: Tribunal hearing and Open Justice – Part 1 | valerieeliotsmith
  2. QMUL v IC + Matthees (PACE Trial) Part 2: Documents, Open Justice and Open Data | valerieeliotsmith
  3. Using public money to keep publicly funded data from the public – johnthejack
  4. The cost of fighting PACE trial data-sharing | WAMES (Working for ME in Wales)

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