Office rates for Central Market Offices (FOI)
Office rates for Central Market Offices (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 06 July 2022.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Kindly advise me what are the full office rates, any other office rates and room rates for the Central Market Offices in St Helier.
The information you have requested is exempt under Article 33 (Commercial Interests) of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 since the office and room rates you have requested are commercially sensitive.
Article 33 - Commercial interests
Information is qualified exempt information if –
(a) it constitutes a trade secret; or
(b) its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of a person (including the scheduled public authority holding the information).
Public Interest Test
Article 33 is a qualified exemption and a public interest test must be carried out by the Scheduled Public Authority (SPA) to determine whether the information should be released.
It is in the public interest to be made aware of any office and room rates charged by the SPA, the Government of Jersey, in relation to Central Market.
However, the release of the office and room rates could potentially disadvantage the tenants and the Government of Jersey's ability to retain commercial advantage in any future rental negotiations regarding the Central Market.
Therefore, it is considered that the likely prejudice to the tenants and to the Government, should this information be released, outweighs the argument that the release is in the public interest.
Internal Review Request
Article 33 has no application as the Central Market is not a commercial entity as it is owned by the public of Jersey. There is no explanation as to why anyone's interests in future negotiations may be prejudiced or what the commercial sensitivity is. A cursory examination of commercial entities and estate agents websites offering office space for rental reveal that all, without exception state the price asked for per square foot! Clearly these commercial entities do not share the government's apprehension of prejudice to their tenants or to any negotiations.
Please let me have the information requested
Internal Review Response
This review has been completed by two senior staff members of the Government of Jersey, independent of the original decision-making process.
The original response has been reviewed and assessed to identify whether the application of the exemption had been applied correctly.
The Central Market (the 'Market') is owned by the Public of the Island of Jersey.
In accordance with Article 3 of the Loi (1885) touchant l'Administration des Marchés Publics (itself consistent with the Order of His Majesty in Council of 10 March 1802) and the Public Markets (Administration) (Jersey) Regulations 1947 made thereunder, the income from the Markets is to be used for their upkeep:
"Les États auront le droit d'émaner des Règlements pour le bon ordre, la police et l'entretien des Marchés, et pourront, comme par le passé, louer les boutiques, étaux et emplacements dans les Marchés, afin de subvenir aux frais qu'entraînent l'administration et l'entretien des Marchés".
The status of the Market has more recently been considered by the Royal Court in two judgments which can be accessed via the Jersey Legal Information Board's website[¹]. The Court found that:
"The Market is not therefore an organisation which has as an object the making of a profit to produce income for the States of Jersey. Rather by reference to both the 1802 Order in Council and the 1885 Law income from leases has to be applied towards the cost of administrating and maintaining the Market. The Market in that sense is not a profit making body. That does not mean however there cannot be a surplus of income over expenditure in any given year; it is a matter for the States acting through JPH as to what reserves might be built up over time to meet future maintenance costs of the Market"[²].
The fact that the Market's income is ringfenced for the maintenance of the Market does not alter or prevent the Market from being a commercial property, the Market is a commercial entity, and the Government of Jersey (the 'Government') has a commercial interest to protect any current or future income received from the leasing of any unit, room or office space.
The Government needs to retain their future negotiation capacity and flexibility to rent out Market units, rooms and office space and the provision of these rates could undermine this.
The tenant may also be prejudiced when seeking to renew their lease or licence or seek alternative rental space if it is made public what their current rates are since their negotiation capacity may be diminished.
The Government does not routinely advertise all of the Market's vacant units/rooms/office space or include the square footage rates since some are intended for the use of government sections and not the public.
The Market has different tariffs depending upon various factors and some examples are detailed below:
- Duration of lease / licence required – e.g., a month or two years
- Usage of space – e.g., for storage, office space, retail unit etc
- Public or Government usage
Following careful consideration, the Market lease rates will remain exempt from release
under Article 33 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.
The reviewers, having considered the application of Article 33 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011, in this instance, concluded that the exemption was appropriate and should be upheld.
[¹] Treasurer of the States v Darius James Pearce  JRC206 & Darius James Pearce v Treasurer of the States  JRC139B
[²] Treasurer of the States v Darius James Pearce  JRC206, paragraph 70