Exemptions

The Freedom of Information Act contains a number of exemptions that allow public authorities to withhold information from disclosure.

There are two types of exemptions that can be applied:

  • Absolute (the Public Interest Test does not apply), and
  • Qualified (the Public Interest Test applies).

The full list of exemption clauses is as follows:

21        Information reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means | Absolute

22        Information intended for future publication | Qualified

23        Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters | Absolute

24        National security | Qualified

26        Defence | Qualified

27        International relations | Qualified

28        Relations within the UK | Qualified

29        The economy | Qualified

30        Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities | Qualified

31        Law enforcement | Qualified

32        Court records | Absolute

33        Audit functions | Qualified

34        Parliamentary privilege | Absolute

35        Formulation of government policy | Qualified

36        Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs | Qualified

37        Communications with Her Majesty and honours | Qualified

38        Health and safety | Qualified

39        Environmental information | Qualified

40        Personal information | Absolute/Qualified

41        Information provided in confidence (but only if this would constitute an actionable breach of confidence) | Absolute

42        Legal professional privilege | Qualified

43        Commercial interests | Qualified

44        Prohibitions on disclosure | Absolute

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