Dates and Times:
Thursday 24 January 9.30am to 4pm and
Friday 25 January 9.30am to 12.30pm
About the Course
Freedom of Information (FOI) is now an established and fully-accepted feature of all Government departments and offices and many public or publicly-funded bodies in Ireland (now known as “FOI bodies”). The Freedom of Information Act 2014 establishes the following statutory rights for the public:
- The right to be granted access to records held by FOI bodies, subject to exemptions and exclusions set out in the Act
- The right to apply to FOI bodies for the amendment of personal information in records held by them, on the grounds that it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading, and
- A general right to apply to FOI bodies for, and obtain, reasons and underlying material fact-finding in respect of administrative decisions or “acts”, subject to certain conditions.
In addition, the Act obliges FOI bodies to publish information about themselves, the information they hold, and the internal guidelines and precedents they use in decision-making, as well as proactively publishing information of relevance or interest to the public which would routinely be accessible by way of FOI request. The Act further obliges FOI bodies to familiarise themselves with, and have regard to, the Code of Practice for FOI which has been drawn up by the Minister for Public Enterprise and Reform.
This course provides an introduction to, and grounding in, the main aspects of the legislation as well as the grounds for non-disclosure. As well as sharing an FOI body practitioner’s experience, it will include a case study in how to apply the Act in a practical context, and take a look at the role of the Information Commissioner and the courts on appeal. It is designed to be a practical and focused course for any public servant involved in the provision of information to the public.
Following the successful completion of the course, delegates will have acquired a knowledge and developed skills and techniques which will give them the ability to perform better in this complex and demanding role.
On completion of the course participants will know:
• How Freedom of Information legislation applies to their organisation
• The rights of access for members of the public under Freedom of Information legislation, and the exceptions that apply
• How to process requests and applications, and how and when to make decisions and deal with reviews under the legislation
• The roles, powers and functions of the Office of the Information Commissioner and the courts on appeal
The course is suitable for information and records management staff in the public sector including the civil service, bodies and agencies, local authorities, further and higher educational establishments, emergency services, defence forces, the health sector and non-governmental organisations
This course is accredited by the Institute of Commercial Management (ICM). Attendees will receive an ICM Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Training Award on successful completion of the course including a single assessment after the taught aspect of the course has ended.
Niall Michel has industry-leading experience and expertise in both advisory and contentious matters.
Niall's focus is on procedural and other jurisdictional issues, statutory interpretation and drafting, public sector Corporate Governance, Freedom of Information (“FOI”), investigations and inquiries, judicial review and statutory appeals, and contentious public procurement. Niall is a litigation partner on the Mason Hayes & Curran’s Public and Administrative Law team. Niall is an acknowledged expert in FOI, and in information management and disclosure matters generally.
Lisa Joyce advises a significant number of varied clients, including public and regulatory bodies, national industry and professional bodies, and professional disciplinary bodies on contentious and non-contentious matters of Administrative and Public Law generally.
This includes advising public bodies on their powers, functions and duties, matters of statutory interpretation, fair procedures, and legislative drafting, and advising public and private bodies in relation to Public Law litigation, principally judicial review proceedings and statutory appeals and applications. Lisa also has a particular focus on Information Law, advising extensively on Freedom of Information, access to environmental information and Data Protection legislation.
She graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in Law and French, and was elected a Trinity Scholar in her Senior Freshman year. She went on to attain a Master’s Degree in Law (LL.M.) from the University of Cambridge, for which she was awarded a Cambridge University European Trust Scholarship. In 2009, Claire qualified as a barrister with the highest overall degree mark and became a John Brooke Scholar of the Honorable Society of King’s Inns. Claire returned to the Law School in Trinity College Dublin to complete a Ph.D. on the theme of constitutional freedom of religion.