Legal costs (FOI)
Legal costs (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 01 November 2017.
I'd like to request information relating to the costs incurred by the States of Jersey as a result of legal action within the last five years. In particular;
The costs incurred by the States in cases involving businesses and individuals. Please include all arms of the States of Jersey including the Assembly, Departments and Executive.
The nature of the legal action in question
The number of ongoing cases if applicable
By the term 'legal action' I mean when the States of Jersey is the defendant in court, for instance when a person appeals against the decision of the Minister in a Planning matter.
Also, ‘legal action’ might include any appeal to a tribunal under Social Security, employment, health and safety, mental health or planning laws all of which involve scrutiny of the decisions of Departments of the States and will incur costs to those Departments.
The number and range of cases captured by this request and the variety of bases under which costs may be incurred mean that it is not possible to provide a response to this question within the 12.5 hour time limit allowed by the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 (the FOI Law). In a particular case the States of Jersey might incur costs under a wide range of accounts including legal aid, court costs, costs of expert reports, costs of translators, States of Jersey staff time, law officers’ costs, lawyers’ fees, court imposed costs and fines. We do not hold records of all these various case costs consolidated for the States of Jersey; the information would have to be extracted by following each cost item under each different cost base for each separate case.
The nature of legal actions where a part of the States of Jersey is defendant may be established from publicly available information case information and is therefore absolutely exempt information under Article 23 of the FOI Law. For cases in Jersey, courts and tribunals judgments are published on the Jersey Legal Information Board website at the following link:
Jersey Legal Information Board
It is possible by searching for judgments where the defendant contains terms such as ‘Minister’, ‘States’, ‘Comptroller’, ‘Chief Officer’ to find all relevant cases in the last five years which have had a judgment: from each judgment it will be possible to establish the nature of the case.
A search of our civil case database identified 25 cases at the Royal Court with current status 'open' where one of the defendants or respondents matched the terms ‘minister’, ‘states’, ‘chief officer’ or ‘comptroller’. At the Tribunal Service, there are currently two Employment and Discrimination Tribunal cases where the States’ Employment Board is the employer, seven Social Security Tribunal cases, eight Planning Appeal Tribunal cases and eight Mental Health Review Tribunal cases.
Article 16 A scheduled public authority may refuse to supply information if cost excessive
(1) A scheduled public authority that has been requested to supply information may refuse to supply the information if it estimates that the cost of doing so would exceed an amount determined in the manner prescribed by Regulations.
Regulation 2 (1) of the Freedom of Information (Costs) (Jersey) Regulations 2014 allows an authority to refuse a request for information where the estimated cost of dealing with the request would exceed the specified amount of the cost limit of £500. This is the estimated cost of one person spending 12.5 working hours in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.
Article 23 Information accessible to applicant by other means
(1) Information is absolutely exempt information if it is reasonably available to the applicant, otherwise than under this Law, whether or not free of charge.
(2) A scheduled public authority that refuses an application for information on this ground must make reasonable efforts to inform the applicant where the applicant may obtain the information.