Deely v Information Commissioner

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IEHC - [2001] 3 IR 439
Courts logo1.png
Court: High Court (Ireland)
Jurisdiction: Ireland
Relevant Law:
s42 Freedom of Information Act 1997
Decided: 11 May 2001
Published: {{{Date_Published}}}
National Case Number/Name: [2001] 3 IR 439
European Case Law Identifier:
Appeal from:
Appeal to:
Original Language(s): English
Original Source: Information Commissioner (An Coimisinéir Faisnéise) (in English)
Initial Contributor: n/a

The High Court set out its standard of review for the decisions of other state decision-making bodies.

English Summary


The applicant (Deely) sought to invoke the Freedom of Information Act 1997 (the 1997 Act) in order to understand why a prosecution order for a road traffic offence was brought against him. His request was rejected by the Information Commissioner and he sought to appeal this decision at the Irish High Court, pursuant to section 42 of the 1997 Act.


Did the High Court have the remit to address the decisions made by the Information Commissioner? What is the standard of review in appeal of a point of law from a decision of the Commissioner?


Mc Kechnie J held the following (at p452 of the judgment): "[A] court is confined in its remit on appeals on a point of law as follows:

(a) It cannot set aside findings of primary fact unless there is no evidence to support such findings;

(b) It ought not to set aside inferences drawn from such facts unless such inferences were ones which no reasonable decision-making body should draw.

(c) It can however reverse such inferences if the same were based on interpretation of documents and should do so if incorrect;

(d) If the conclusion reached by such bodies shows that they have taken an erroneous view of the law, then that also is a ground for setting aside the resulting decision."


As Ireland is a common law jurisdiction, the findings in the case above may be applied or considered binding on future cases against the Information Commissioner. In a case involving another body of the state, such as the DPC, the above standard of apply may apply, unless one of the parties involved the case can successfully outline why the specific facts in that case render the standard in Deely inapplicable.

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English Machine Translation of the Decision

The decision below is a machine translation of the English original. Please refer to the English original for more details.