What do cause the BPI process successful?

They said that such legislation overrides the non-statutory provisions of the Code. It was on that basis that the Commission had refused to provide much of the information requested by Mr P. Mr P’s funding was granted under the Legal Aid Act 1988. Section 38 of that Act relates to the restriction or disclosure of information and the parts relevant to this particular case read as follows. The information sought by Mr P falls into two general categories.

I shall look first at the representations made against Mr P’s means. The Commission have provided Mr P with some of those representations but have stated that they would be in breach of Section 38 of the Legal Aid Act 1988 if they were to provide him with any further representations. Section 38 states that the Commission shall not disclose information provided to them without the consent of the person or body of persons who provided that information.
They have told Mr P that one of the parties who made representations never gave his consent to their disclosure while the other party did agree to their disclosure but subsequently withdrew that consent.

The Code is non-statutory and cannot override statutory prohibitions on disclosure such as those set out in the Legal Aid Act 1988. Exemption 15 of the Code, Building Inspections was not cited by the Commission but which I have set out in paragraph 3.11, covers information whose disclosure is prohibited by or under any enactment. Mr P is limited to confirming that the Commission are not falsely claiming that the information requested comes within the area covered by the statutory prohibition.

Having looked very carefully at the papers held by the Commission I am satisfied that the representations do come within the area covered by Section 38 of the Legal Aid Act 1988 and that they are therefore exempt from disclosure under Exemption 15 of the Code. I make no comment on the applicability of that Act to the information sought by Mr P other than to say that there is evidence among the Commission’s papers that appears to support their claims about the provision and withdrawal of consent relating to the representations.

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