The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014 was enacted on 14 October 2014. Under the Act, FOI was extended to a range of public bodies.
From 14 April 2015 the Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board is partially subject to the 2014 Act.
Records relating to reviews of detention, conditional and unconditional discharges and the return of patients from conditional discharge are excluded from the scope of the Act. However the Review Board, in compliance with Section 12(6)(c) of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006 as amended, provides every patient whose detention is the subject of review, and their legal representative, with a copy of all documentation furnished to the Board in connection with the review of their detention.
The Freedom of Information Act 2014 provides that a person has a right to:
• access information held by an FOI body
• request correction of personal information held by an FOI body where it is inaccurate, incomplete or misleading
• obtain reasons for a decision made by an FOI body where the decision affects them.
These rights are subject to certain exemptions which are set out in the Act.
What records can be requested?
The following records can be requested under the FOI Act 2014:
• Personal records, whenever created
• Other records created after 21 April 2008.
Having regard to the Board’s partial exemption, personal or other records relating to review, conditional or unconditional discharge of a patient, are not available under the FOI Act.
How to make a request
Information requests must be made in writing and should indicate that the information is being sought under the Freedom of Information Act. Written requests should be sent to:
Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board
Floor 2, Montague Court
Eircode DO2 FT96
or via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The request should be sufficiently clear to enable us to identify the records sought. A reason does not have to be given as to why access to particular records is being sought.
Subject to the provisions of the Act, the Review Board may decide to:
• grant the request
• grant part of the request
• refuse the request
Where a decision is made to refuse access to information, you may seek a review. This review will be carried out by an official at a higher grade than the original decision maker. If you are still unhappy, there is a right of appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner. A request for an appeal to that Office should be sent to:
Office of the Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street
Under FOI, requests for personal information are free in most cases. However the Act does allow where the request relates to a significant number of records that a charge may be levied.
There are charges for non-personal information requests in connection with search, retrieval and copying. Fees and charges are dealt with in Section 27 of the Act.
For more comprehensive information on Freedom of Information, including the text of the Freedom of Information Acts, please visit the website of the FOI Central Policy Unit of the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform.