Consultation on proposed new Legal Aid Scheme (FOI)
Consultation on proposed new Legal Aid Scheme (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 04 January 2022.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
A consultation on the proposed new Legal Aid Scheme was published on 04 August 2021 by the Justice and Home Affairs. The deadline for the consultation was 29 September 2021. I submitted a response to this consultation I have not received any response to my submission.
I seek confirmation of the number of responses submitted in response of this consultation and disclosure of those responses.
Information is publicly available on the number of representations received on page 3 of the attached report. As the information is publicly available, Article 23 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 has been applied.
Publication of Legal Aid guidelines (gov.je)
The representations received are exempt under Article 35 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 – formulation and development of policies.
Article 23 - Information accessible to applicant by other means
Information is absolutely exempt information if it is reasonably available to the applicant, otherwise than under this Law, whether or not free of charge.
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.
Article 35 - Formulation and development of policies
Information is qualified exempt information if it relates to the formulation or development of any proposed policy by a public authority.
Public Interest Test
In applying this article, the following points were considered, and on balance, in light of the below, the responses are not being released.
Public interest considerations favouring disclosure
- disclosure of the information would support transparency and promote accountability to the public; and increase public understanding of the views submitted
- disclosure to the public fulfils an educative role about the early stages in policy development and illustrates how the Government has engaged with the public for this purpose.
Public interest considerations favouring withholding the information
- disclosure of the information may influence decisions by future ministerial and officer leadership teams as to whether or when to seek the public’s views, if concerns exist that the results from a future consultation would be published
- the information gleaned from the consultation is the foundation to improved policy, and it was not stated that representations received would be made public. Disclosure of this information may limit the willingness of the public to provide their honest views and feedback in future consultations. This could hamper the Government’s ability to work effectively
- disclosure of the fact that a survey has taken place and the number of responses received provides re-assurance to the public that Government takes steps to obtain the public’s views, where change is necessary, and it is therefore not considered necessary, weighing up the balance of public interest, to disclosure the specific consultation responses to achieve this re-assurance
- release of the information may generate debate that is not fully informed. This could affect the ability of ministerial and officer leadership teams to consider and develop policy and improvements, including public engagement, away from external pressures and to ensure the purpose of the consultation is not undermined in this way.