This day and a half intensive course will be held in our headoffice, 25 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1.
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.
Against this background, Public Affairs Ireland have designed the Certificate in Freedom of Information. This programme will provide an introduction to, and grounding in, the main aspects of the legislation as well as the grounds for non-disclosure. It includes a case study in how to apply the Act in a practical context and looks at the role of the Information Commissioner and the courts on appeal. This course also aims to equip FOI officers with the skills, knowledge and competencies to be able to fulfil their role by taking a pragmatic approach and focusing on practical FOI tasks and essential law, rules and guidelines, as opposed to theory.
What you will learn
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 graduates will understand:
- 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
- Handle requests by individuals for access to information and ensure compliance with obligations under the Act
Assessment and Certificate
This course is accredited by the Institute of Commercial Management (ICM). Graduates will receive an ICM continuing professional development (CPD) certificate on successful completion of the course including a single written take-home assessment.
Niall Michel is a litigation partner on the Mason Hayes and 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.
Lisa Joyce is a Senior Associate in the Public and Administrative Law Unit of the Mason Hayes and 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.
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