"Democracy dies behind closed doors" (Judge Damon Keith, US Appeals Court Judge)
There has been a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the UK since 2000 (since 2002 in Scotland). In 2012 the Justice Select Committee acknowledged that it “has been a significant enhancement of our democracy”, and that access to public sector information was a constitutional right. One can go further; Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights emphasises that the right to receive information, without interference, from public authorities is a fundamental human right.
There is a good case to be made that, without the Campaign for Freedom of Information (CFOI), we would not have our freedom of information laws as they exist now. Since CFOI's inception in 1984, it has argued and lobbied hard for those laws, eventually persuading the government in 1997 to legislate. Some years later Tony Blair famously said that getting FOIA enacted was his “greatest mistake” - making him one of a long line of politicians who embrace freedom of information when in opposition, and denounce it when in power (in fact, this might be the best evidence that the law is working as it should).
Since then, there have been a number of other challenges to FOIA, and the CFOI has continued to lobby, and intervene, and campaign with great success, led by the admirable and tireless Maurice Frankel, on very limited funds.
Now, the CFOI (Campaign for Freedom of Information) faces a very serious funding shortfall. It is seeking assistance and our Firm has contributed to their fundraising campaign, recognising the importance of their work. If you would like you donate you can do so here.