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Secretary of State for the Home Department v British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and Another

DATE: 30 Jul 2008

Information supplied by applicants for animal experiment licences was exempt from disclosure under freedom of information provisions if the official in possession of the information knew or had reasonable grounds for believing that it was given in confidence.

That was a subjective test requiring consideration of the position when the information was given and the intentions of the giver at that time, rather than an objective test derived from the law of confidentiality.

The Court of Appeal so held in a reserved judgment dismissing an appeal by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection against Mr Justice Eady's decision in the Queen's Bench Division ([2008] EWHC 892 (QB)) overturning a decision of the Information Tribunal on January 30, 2008 and confirming a decision made by the Information Commissioner on June 12, 2007 that certain information requested by BUAV under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 was exempt from disclosure under section 44(1) as a result of section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.


Kate Olley appeared for BUAV with Mr Daniel Alexander, QC.