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Freedom of information

Supreme Court Building

Responses to FOI Requests

Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act) encourages public authorities to make as much information as possible available to the public proactively. It establishes a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on public authorities.

Making a request

Under the Act, you are entitled to make a request for information held by the Supreme Court. You can request

  1. To be informed in writing by the Court whether it holds information of the description specified in your request, and
  2. If that is the case, to have that information communicated to you

If you ask for environmental information, your request will be handled under the Environmental Regulations (EIRs). Environmental information includes things like carbon emissions or the environment's effect on human health.

If you would like to make a request, either under the Freedom of Information Act or the Environmental Regulations, please write to our FOI team.

Freedom of Information
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square

What you can expect

All FOI requests should be dealt with within 20 working days. The Act also provides for an appeal mechanism whereby you can request an internal review. If still required, you may still apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision as to whether we dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.

In accordance with Section 12 of the Act, we are unable to comply with a request where we estimate that the work involved will exceed the 'appropriate limit' of £600 or 24 hours' staff time. We will, however, provide advice and assistance so that requests might be refined or limited to come within the cost limit.

Regulation six of the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 sets out the activities that can be charged for in complying with any requests. These include the cost of photocopying, printing and postage. We will contact you to let you know the cost of dealing with your request before we action it and this will be payable in advance.

Every public authority subject to the FOI Act is required to adopt and maintain a publication scheme which follows the model scheme set out by the Information Commissioner. Details of the model publication scheme are available on the Information Commissioner's office website.

FOI Disclosures

In the interests of transparency and to ensure access to information, responses to FOI requests will be frequently published on our website.

The UK Supreme Court disclosure log lists our responses to requests made under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 which we feel are of wider public interest.

Please note:

  • We do not publish responses to FOI or EIR requests which were not valid requests for recorded information.
  • We do not publish responses to requests that do not relate to the work of the UK Supreme Court or the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
  • We only publish any internal review responses which overturn our original response.
  • We began publishing responses to FOI and EIR requests here in April 2021. Responses will be published here, as we respond to them, and kept for two years.

Current disclosures:

Accessing court records

There is no right of access under the FOI Act to information contained in court records as Section 32 gives an absolute exemption from disclosure of such information. This exemption applies regardless of the content of the information.

Access to the Supreme Court's court records is dealt with in Rule 39 of the Supreme Court Rules. Rule 39(3) provides that all documents held by the Court may be inspected by the press or members of the public on application to the Registrar.

The rules provide a procedure for such applications by completing Form Two and a fee is payable. There are additional charges for photocopies of documents. The Registrar may refuse an application for reasons of commercial confidentiality, national security or in the public interest.

How long is information kept?

We manage our information in accordance with our records retention and disposal schedule in order to ensure that we operate sound records management procedures. This means that some information will not be available indefinitely through the publication scheme. We remain committed to providing the public with as much information as is practically possible. It is also important that the information we provide is relevant and up-to-date.