It's Your Right to Know

12 September 2005: The ONB legal challenge to Lincolnshire County Council (2005)

Orchard News Bureau took Lincolnshire County Council to the High Court after the authority withheld financial records from public inspection.

The council
censored invoices and related documents relating to its 2003/2004 accounts, and claimed it was entitled to do so under data protection rules.

The council attempted to argue that information contained in the accounts could not be disclosed without the
permission of contractors and consultants.

But Mr (now Lord) Justice Leveson ruled that the council had no legal justification to use the data protection act to censor the accounts.

He told the council that ONB and others were entitled to
view the records during the statutory public inspection period.

He also put the authority on notice that any future attempt to withhold financial records using either the data protection act, or the human rights act, would trigger a judicial review hearing.

The council
released the censored accounts.

For guidance, contact Orchard News Bureau Ltd.