According to the Financial Times the Office of Government Commerce, a creature of Her Majesty's Treasury, headed by Chancellor soon to be Prime Minister Gordon Brown is appealing against the Information Tribunal's decision to uphold the Information Commissioner's decision to order the OGC to publish in full, the documents requested in our Freedom of Information Act for the Stage Zero and two Pre-Stage Zero Gateway Review reports into the Home Office's controversial and hugely expensive Identity Cards Programme.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 Section 59 Appeals from decision of Tribunal does allow for an appeal against the decision of the Information Tribunal to be heard by the High Court, but only on a point of law
59. Any party to an appeal to the Tribunal under section 57 may appeal from the decision of the Tribunal on a point of law to the appropriate court; and that court shall be-
(a) the High Court of Justice in England if the address of the public authority is in England or Wales,
(b) the Court of Session if that address is in Scotland, and
(c) the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland if that address is in Northern Ireland.
We are mystified as to what "points of law" OGC can possibly argue before the High Court.
How much money in legal fees will all these pointless appeals end up costing the taxpayers ?
Gordon Brown is already reneging on his recent promises about "open government" or public transparency and accountability. He does not have to wait to take over as Prime Minister, he could have ordered the documents to be released disclosed already, since the OGC is directly under his control as Chancellor of the Exchequer. It seems unlikely that such an infamous micro-manager, would not be fully aware of the OGC decision to waste further public money on legal costs in this matter.
We are awaiting details of any future High Court dates for this case, which could possibly be done via written submissions without a formal hearing. Hopefully the High Court will decide to reject the OGC appeal.