The Data Brief

A monthly data protection bulletin from the barristers at 5 Essex Chambers

Groundhog day

11 November 2022

Swift v Information Commissioner [2022] UKFTT 00382 (GRC)

The FTT considered whether the principle of res judicata applies in FOIA appeals. This was in the context of a question of fact being determined in one set of proceedings and then arising in the instant proceedings.

The Tribunal noted that there was no direct authority on the treatment of earlier findings of fact in FOIA appeals. The principle has been held not to apply in the fields of social security and immigration and asylum. However, it held that in those proceedings there was not a carte blanche to relitigate issues. It is a well-established principle of administrative law that person should be treated uniformly unless there is some valid reason to treat them differently. Nonetheless, there is an obligation on the Tribunal to decide independently each case on its own individual merits.

Res judicata was held to apply to this same extent to FOIA proceedings There is “no reason why the same fundamental principles” in social security and immigration proceedings should not apply to proceedings under FOIA: “where a factual issue is simply re-argued on the same or very similar evidence, with no change of circumstances, and between the same parties, the Tribunal is entitled to take the issue as having already been decided.”

Judgment: click here


Saara Idelbi

Call 2008

Aaron Moss

Call 2013

John Goss

Call 2015

The Data Brief

A monthly data protection bulletin from the barristers at 5 Essex Chambers

The Data Brief is edited by Francesca Whitelaw KC, Aaron Moss and John Goss, barristers at 5 Essex Chambers, with contributions from the whole information law, data protection and AI Team.

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