IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE IN NORTHERN IRELAND
QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION (JUDICIAL REVIEW)
IN THE MATTER OF AN APPLICATION BY BRENDA DOWNES
FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW
[1 ] In the judgment I addressed the question of the manner in which the OFMDFM dealt with the applicant’s request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”) and the way in which the respondent dealt with the provision of information and evidence to the court in the course of the judicial review application. As the judgment sought to make clear there were matters which emerged in relation to the way in which the matter was handled that led to the view that the case should be the subject of inquiry. The reference to an inquiry was intended to be a reference to an investigation and the court was not seeking to be prescriptive as to how that investigation should be carried out. If such an investigation is to be fair and meaningful it could not be conducted by any of the personnel involved in the handling of the case. The court’s view that such investigation was necessary related to the manner of the handling of the judicial review proceedings and the pre-action letter rather than with the actual decision which was, of course, the subject of full analysis in the course of the judicial review. The Secretary of State has a right of appeal in relation to the court’s substantive decision if he considers that the decision was wrong in law.
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