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Our response to your request

Hearing back from us

You will receive a response to your request promptly and in any case within 20 working days. In certain circumstances, such as when an authority is considering whether or not a Qualified Exemption applies (see below) the law allows a longer time to respond to your request. In such instances, the authority will contact you within 20 working days and advise you of the position.

When we may refuse your request

Information should usually be made available on request, but there are some circumstances when your request may be refused.

Your request for information may be refused if:

• It is not a valid request
• A practical refusal reason applies
• An exemption applies

Practical refusal reasons

Your request may be refused in the following circumstances:

  • Your request is not a valid request under the Act.
  • The authority does not have the information.
  • The authority is not required to create or derive information from information it holds, undertake research or analysis of information it holds or undertake substantial compilation or collation of information it holds.
  • The authority believes your request is vexatious, malicious, frivolous, misconceived or lacking in substance.
  • You have asked for information that has already been given to you or for information that the authority has already refused to give you, and a reasonable period of time has not passed since your last request (this is called a 'repeated request').


Absolute exemptions

Any request for information that falls under an absolute exemption will be refused.

These exemptions are:

  • Information accessible by other means
  • Court information
  • Parliamentary privilege and business
  • Communications with the Crown
  • Information under international agreements about exchange of information
  • Personal information
  • Information provided in confidence
  • Disclosure of information restricted by law

Qualified exemptions

Any request for information that falls under a qualified exemption will also require a public interest test to be undertaken. The public interest test will determine if disclosing the information requested is in the public interest. The information may be withheld if it is considered that the public interest in withholding is greater than the public interest in releasing it. Some Qualified Exemptions are only engaged if release of information would create prejudice - or harm – to the subject matter of the exemption.

These exemptions are:

  • National security and defence
  • International relations
  • Economy and commercial interests
  • Investigations and legal proceedings
  • Law enforcement
  • Audit functions
  • Formulation of policy
  • Conduct of public business
  • Health and safety
  • Research and natural resources
  • Communications with the Crown
  • Personal information
  • Legal professional privilege
  • Information for future publication

Neither confirm nor deny

In certain circumstances, if an authority confirms or denies it holds information you have requested this could in itself reveal information which would fall under an exemption.

What can I do if I am unhappy with the response I am given?

As part of an authority’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2015, they must inform you how to submit a review request.

Upon receipt of a valid review request, the authority will reassess how your request was handled.

To request a review, complete a review request form online or ask for a paper copy of the form and submit it to the relevant authority.

Information Commissioner

The Freedom of Information Act 2015 established the Isle of Man Information Commissioner as the independent authority responsible for upholding the public's information rights and promoting and enforcing compliance with the Island's information rights legislation, which includes the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act and Unsolicited Communications Regulations.

If you remain dissatisfied following a review decision, you have the right to complain to the Isle of Man Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner is independent and will investigate your complaint with a view as to whether the authority has applied the law correctly in your case.

As part of this process, an alternative dispute resolution could be used. The Information Commissioner may, at any time, attempt to resolve a complaint by negotiation, conciliation, mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution.

You can contact the Information Commissioner:

Isle of Man Information Commissioners

PO Box 69


Isle of Man

IM99 1EQ

Telephone:+44 1624 693260


Email:Send Email

Code of Practice

The Freedom of information Act 2015 Code of Practice has been produced in consultation with the Isle of Man Information Commissioner. A public authority is taken to have complied with its legal requirements if it conforms to the provisions of the Code of Practice where relevant. 

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