Planning department correspondence - The Firs (1) (FOI)
Planning department correspondence - The Firs (1) (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 27 September 2023.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Please provide all correspondence with the planning department and internal emails sent on property the Firs or Carpark, in particular any requests for legal definitions
The information requested is partially exempt under Article 23 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 as the correspondence is accessible on www.gov.je within a previous Freedom of Information response linked below:
Planning department correspondence - The Firs (FOI)
Furthermore, Article 31 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 also applies to some of the aforesaid withheld documents.
Article 31 is a qualified exemption; therefore, a public interest test has been applied and is shown at the end of this response.
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.
Article 31 - Advice by the Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff or a Law Officer
Information is qualified exempt information if it is or relates to the provision of advice by the Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff or the Attorney General or the Solicitor General.
Public Interest Test
The public interest in disclosing information when this article is being applied must weigh particularly heavily in favour of disclosure in order to outweigh the inherent right to privilege.
It is not considered the public interest in disclosing the information is outweighed by that in maintaining the exemption, as it is designed to protect the constitutional Law Officer privilege.
Internal Review Request
I specifically requested the email where the planning officer requested legal advice on a definition of what constitutes employment land in relation to the property. At no point has this been shared with us.
How can advice from the Jersey Law Office be exempt from the public when all we are asking for is the definition on what the employment land is. This should be public knowledge and not privileged knowledge or does it not exist? It is not classified as privileged or confidential as it is a simple definition.
From consulting our lawyers and from looking through all of planning documents and Jersey law, there is no such definition.
As such we strongly believe that our planning officer to be mistaken or the advice given to them from the law department to be in error.
As such we request that this information be shared with us to prevent us from having to go to court which will cost the tax payer and us more money.
This should be public knowledge and not privileged.
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 and whether it was appropriate to withhold information.
The Panel’s decision is that the application of Article 31 (Advice by the Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff or a Law Officer) of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 had been correctly applied.
The reviewers, having considered the application of Article 31 in this instance, concluded that the exemption was appropriate and should be upheld.