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Jersey: JOIC submits decision on freedom of information request relating to real estate contracts

The Jersey Office of the Information Commissioner ('JOIC') published, on 24 March 2021, its decision, as issued on 20 August 2020, in which it determined whether Andium Homes Limited's withholding of information in response to a freedom of information request was lawful under the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 ('FIL'), following a complaint on the same.

Background of the decision

In particular, the JOIC noted that the complainant had requested for information to be disclosed under a freedom of information request which included personal data on particular individuals, to the Andium Homes, however the information requested were deemed to be witheld under Article 33 under the FIL. Further, the JOIC added that the request led to an internal review by the Health and Community Services Department, which concluded that the witholding of the information requested was valid due to commercial sensitivity. Therefore, the JOIC stated that the complainant submitted a complaint for an investigation on the freedom of information request and the internal review to be investigated by the JOIC, alleging that the requested information would not breach the FIL. Furthermore, the JOIC found that the questions the complainant addressed in their request concerned whether the amount in the contract was settled for a purchase of a real estate project, its exact amount, the release of retention money, and the exact time granted under the contract for an extension to complete the project.

Findings of the JOIC

Following the above, the JOIC submitted its analysis on Article 33 of the FIL to conclude wether the withholding of the information was valid by Andium Homes, citing that it had acted appropriately during the freedom of information request and had applied Article 33 of the FIL correctly.

Outcomes

Finally, the JOIC concluded that Andium Homes had to respond to the question on whether the purchase of the project was settled, but not disclosed the exact amount, and, as for the release of retention money, information was correctly withheld by Andium Homes. 

You can read the decision here.