Can the Department supply information relating to copies of correspondence, minutes of meetings and analyses of impact relating to the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?
The information requested is being withheld under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The exemptions that apply to this information are section(s)35 and 42 of the Freedom of Information Act for the following reasons:
This falls under the exemption in section 42 of the Freedom of information Act as it provides that information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained.
In applying this exemption the Department felt it had to balance the public interest in withholding the information against the public interest in disclosing the information.
Government departments need high quality, comprehensive legal advice for the effective conduct of their business without fearing that this might expose weaknesses in the Government's position and open it up unnecessarily to legal challenge, which would waste public resources.
This is the formulation and development of Government policy with regards to the UN Convention and falls under exemption 35 1(a) relating to the formulation or development of government policy. In applying this exemption, the Department had to balance the public interest in withholding the information against the public interest in disclosing the information.
Disclosure of the withheld information before ratification of the convention could lead to difficulties in ratification and thus have an effect on the conduct of good government.