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28 Jul 22 Back to Listing

Alex Ustych successfully defends FOIA decision about the ‘National Flagship’ project 

Alex represented the Ministry of Defence in an Information Tribunal appeal following a FOIA request by George Greenwood (an investigations reporter at The Times) for the risks register of the National Flagship project. The Flagship project was announced in May 2021 by the Prime Minister and involves the design/construction of a large vessel (with a budget of up to £250 million) to showcase the UK’s shipbuilding sector, its green technology and to act as a ‘floating embassy’. The project has been highly controversial, and Mr. Greenwood requested information about the risks identified by the MOD in respect of the project.  The MOD relied on section 35(1)(a) (formulation and development of Government policy) and section 43 (2) (commercial interests) FOIA exemptions, refusing to disclose the table of strategic risks for the project. The Information Tribunal, having heard open and closed witness evidence/submissions, dismissed Mr. Greenwood’s appeal, finding that the “extremely strong public interest” in non-disclosure outweighed the “very strong public interest” in disclosure.

 

Alex specialises in all aspects of Information Law, including data protection and FOIA matters. He regularly appears in high-profile FOIA appeals within the Information Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal.