About our Certificate in Freedom of Information
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, attendees 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
- On completion of the course graduates will be able to:
- Identify areas within their organisations that may need attention and remedial action
- Handle requests by individuals for access to information
- Ensure compliance with obligations under the Act
- Provide information, assistance and training to colleagues
This course is accredited by the Institute of Commercial Management (ICM). Delegates will receive an ICM continuing professional development (CPD) certificate on successful completion of the course including a single written take-home assessment. Public Affairs Ireland is an ICM accredited Professional Development Training Centre and is authorized to deliver ICM approved training and development programmes leading to CPD Awards accredited by the Institute of Commercial Management.
Niall Michel is a litigation partner on the Mason Hayes & Curran Public and Administrative Law team. He 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 an acknowledged expert in FOI, and in information-management and disclosure matters generally (including evidence-gathering and evaluation, confidentiality, privacy, and privilege).
Niall’s clients are mainly in the public sector, or public sector-facing. Much of his work is in the areas of sectoral and professional regulation, and professional discipline. He has also advised closely in relation to major statutory investigations and inquiries, and has successfully represented clients as a solicitor-advocate before the High Court, without counsel.
Lisa Joyce is a Senior Associate in the Public and Administrative Law Unit of the Mason Hayes & Curran Litigation department. Lisa 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.
Claire Hogan is a barrister with a mixed civil and public law practice. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in Law and French, having been elected a Trinity Scholar in her Senior Freshman year. She went on to attain a Masters 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. This work was funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and supervised by Prof. Gerry Whyte. Claire lectures part-time in Civil Procedure in the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, in Administrative Law in the Institute of Public Administration, and in Constitutional Law in the Law Society of Ireland.