I don't think section 44 applies as this applies to absolute probibitions on disclosure and the HRA is no one of these. Article 8 is a qualified right and does allow disclosure of private information in limited circumstances.
Section 21 may be relevant if the press release contains the information requested and if press releases form part of your publication scheme categories. All you have to do then is refer them to the scheme. You cannot direct them to the Coroner's Office unless there is a statutory right of access to such information from the CO.
You need to consider section 41 - was the information given in confidence? What would the deceased have expected would be done with their data? The dead still have rights. See the ICO decision involving St Hellier NHS Trust which I refer to in Episode 2 of my podcast. You can download the script or listen on this site.
If the information is already in the public domain and widely known then your chances of witholding may be limited.
Don't forget our course on access to personal data under DPA and FOI. Details at www.actnow.org.uk
Hope this helps.
I would not be able to use section 40 as data protection does not cover deceased persons. I have a duty of care to the families of the deceased as release of their loved ones names may cause distress.
It is possible that disclosure of deceased persons names may cause distress to the families concerned. It would not be possible for me to contact each family (106 families) to ask for their permission.
What about using S.44 - arguing that disclosure of this type of information would be in breach of Article 8 Convention rights incorporated into the Human Rights Act 1998, which provides the right for privacy and family life.
I could also use S. 21 - Information accessible to applicant by other means. I could direct the requestor to the website for press releases in 2004/2005 and also to the coroners office. An inquest would have been opened for each of the deaths. Alternatively, I can give the information out because it is available in the public domain and release of this information would not unduly cause distress to the families concerned.
What are your thoughts?
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