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Make an Appeal

In this section you can find out how the Commissioner deals with appeals, how you can make an appeal to the Commissioner, and how much it costs to make an appeal.

You can also make an Appeal online or by using a printable form, and you can pay your fee online securely using Realex.

How the Commissioner deals with appeals

You will be notified, in writing, when your appeal is accepted

When the Commissioner decides whether to accept your appeal or not, you will receive a letter from his Office.

Who the Commissioner notifies about his review

Before writing to you, the Commissioner's staff will have checked whether your appeal is valid. He will have provided the public authority with a copy of your application to him and he will have received copies of your original request to the public authority, its original decision to you, your internal review request and the public authority's internal review decision (where decisions issued). The Commissioner will also notify any other person whom he decides should be notified of his intention to review the decision.

The Commissioner will ask the public authority for the information and a submission

To allow him to investigate your case, the Commissioner will request the information from the public authority and will invite it to make a submission to him as to why it decided as it did.

The Commissioner will invite you to make a submission

The Commissioner will also invite you to make a written submission. You are not obliged to, but this can often assist the Commissioner in bringing your appeal to a conclusion. The Commissioner's staff may also contact you by telephone to discuss your appeal.

Your case will be assigned to an investigator

Once the your application is accepted, the Investigator will be the principal point of contact point between you and the Commissioner. The Investigator will generally :

  • try to establish all the relevant facts in relation to the decision made by the public authority,
  • ask for submissions from the parties to the appeal and consider any arguments put forward,
  • write to you with his/her preliminary view on your appeal where this is appropriate,
  • make a recommendation to the Information Commissioner on your case.
Binding Decisions

Where the Commissioner issues a binding decision, he may affirm (uphold) or vary (change) the original decision. Alternatively he may annul (cancel) the original decision and make a new binding decision. You can read examples of the Commissioner's decisions on this website.

How long will it take?

Appeals are dealt with as quickly as possible. Some cases may take a considerable amount of time if they are very complex or involve a large volume of information.

What if I no longer wish the Commissioner to review my case?

If at any stage you decide that you no longer wish the Commissioner to carry out the review, you should write to the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information stating clearly that you wish to withdraw your appeal.

Can I appeal the Commissioner's decision?

The Commissioner's final, binding decision can be appealed to the High Court, but only on a point of law. This means that you cannot appeal the decision unless you think the Commissioner has interpreted the law incorrectly. An appeal to the High Court must be made not later than two months after the date of the notification of the decision.

Generally, where the Commissioner makes a decision directing a public authority to release further information, that information will not be released pending the expiry of the two month appeal period.