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Greenwood v Information Commissioner & Crown Prosecution Service [2013] UKFTT EA/2012/0169

DATE: 17 Jan 2013

This was an appeal before the First-tier Tribunal General Regulatory Chamber (Information Rights) concerning whether the direct contact details of senior Crown Prosecution Service lawyers are required to be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Accepting the CPS’s case in its entirety and dismissing the appeal, the Tribunal held:

“24. The Tribunal is satisfied that senior lawyers of this level would not expect their direct dial telephone numbers, mobile numbers and fax numbers to be disclosed. They could be expected to be contacted by members of the public – and this was clearly possible because the full office addresses and main telephone numbers for these individuals were already available – and it is completely reasonable that they could expect contact with the public to be made via the switchboard or by post to the relevant office.

25. Their direct dial numbers and mobile numbers might be used internally and  provided to staff from other investigative bodies – such as the police – so the contact could be made quickly to address urgent matters during the course of a prosecution.

26. That is a very different situation for allowing the Appellant to have access to these personal and private numbers because publication to the Appellant would be publication to the world at large.

27. That could result in senior individuals having their professional effectiveness interfered with or slowed down because of uncontrollable direct calls by members of the public making general enquiries. It would also mean that they were unavailable to deal with the high-level matters and enquiries relating to prosecutions that their senior function required.

28. Disclosure of this detailed information would also mean that the individuals might well receive out of hours calls from members of the public which, too, would reduce their efficiency.

29. The Tribunal notes that it would, in effect, open up these individuals to direct and personal harassment with no pressing social need for the information to be disclosed to the public.”

Charles Banner appeared for the Crown Prosecution Service (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor).