Duty to comply with Notices
It is the duty of a public authority to comply with notices issued by the Commissioner.
If a public authority fails to comply with a notice the Commissioner may certify that failure to the High Court.
The High Court must inquire into the matter and may deal with the public authority as if it had committed a contempt of court.
Reasons why a public authority fails to comply with an information notice include, but are not limited to —
(a) makes a statement that it knows to be false in a material respect; or
(b) recklessly makes a statement that is false in a material respect.
Exceptions to the duty to comply with a decision notice or enforcement notice
In the prescribed, limited, circumstances set out in section 47, the Chief Minister, after consulting the Council of Ministers and the Attorney General, can certify that, on reasonable grounds, he or she has formed the view that there was no failure by the public authority on whom the Commissioner's notice was served, to comply with the right of access in respect of absolutely exempt information or qualified exempt information.
The Chief Minister must:
- give the certificate to the Information Commissioner not later than the 30th working day following the day on which the notice was given to the public authority, or if an appeal to the High Court under section 50 is brought, the day on which that appeal is determined or withdrawn;
- lay a copy of it before Tynwald at the next available sitting after signing the certificate; and
- notify the review applicant of the reasons for the Chief Minister’s opinion as soon as reasonably practicable after signing the certificate.
This is referred to as an "exception" and it is anticipated that this veto would only be exercised in "exceptional" circumstances. In any event, there is a due judicial appeal process to the High Court against notices issued by the Commissioner.