5 September 2016 – 439.2016-17 – Total billed by Weightmans
I write in connection with your request for information which was received by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner on 08 August 2016. I note you seek access to the following information:
Please supply the following information:
- Total billed by Weightmans to North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (or North Yorkshire Police) for all work done by Weightmans up to and including close of business on 8th August, 2016 (This request, under FOIA, will be deemed to have been received on 9th August, 2016) in connection with county court claim number C5QZ21V8. Listed as XXX -v- Police and Crime Commissioner of North Yorkshire. Invoices should be disclosed where available.
- Name of all NYPCC officer(s), or solicitor(s), involved in instructing Weightmans.
- Rationale for instructing the senior partner of a Leeds-based Top 45 law firm to deal with a low value money claim. Copies of all documents supporting that rationale.
- Budget allocated to defending the claim. Copies of all documents that refer to, and justify, that sum.
Your request for information has now been considered and I am not obliged to supply the information requested.
Section 40 – Personal Information
I am exempting your request pursuant to Section 40(5)(b) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) can neither confirm nor deny that it holds any of the information you have requested. To either confirm or deny that the information is held would disclose that an individual/s had, or had not, made a claim, which itself is personal information and therefore exempt under Section 40(5)(b) of the Act. To the extent that Section 40(5)(b) applies, The OPCC has determined that in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exclusion of the duty to neither confirm nor deny outweighs the public interest in confirming or denying whether or not information is held.
Section 17 of the Act requires North Yorkshire Police, when refusing to provide such information (because the information is exempt) to provide you the applicant with a notice which: (a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.
Section 40(5) is an absolute class based exemption, which does not require a public interest test, but requires the balancing of the legitimate interests of the public against the interests of the individual under the first Data Protection Principle (that of ‘fairness’.) Where an individual can be identified by such data, releasing it would clearly breach the first data protection principle of being ‘fair’ to the data subject.
Pursuant to Section 17(4) of the Act this letter also acts as a refusal notice in relation to the duty to confirm or deny.
Please note that systems used for recording information are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. It should be noted therefore that this force’s response to your questions should not be used for comparison purposes with any other responses you may receive.
Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet which details your right of complaint.
If you have any queries concerning this request, please contact me quoting the reference number above.
Update: 1 November 2017
“(1) Total billed by Weightmans (a firm of solicitors) to (PCCNY) for all work done by Weightmans up to and including close of business on 8th. August, 2016 . . . in connection with county court claim number (quoted). Listed as xxx v (PCCNY). Invoices should be disclosed where available.
The total billed by Weightmans in connection with the relevant County Court claim, to the NYPCC up to and including 8th August 2016 was £1,513.20 including VAT.