Seminar to explore whether the time is right to change FOI laws

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THE future of Freedom of Information laws in the UK will be examined when expert speakers from across the UK take part in a seminar at the University of Dundee next week.

“FOI – time to change? Implications north and south of the border” will be held at the Dalhousie Building on Wednesday, 30th May. The seminar is being hosted by the Centre for Freedom of Information, a joint venture between Dundee Law School and the Scottish Information Commissioner.

Scotland’s new Information Commissioner, Rosemary Agnew, will address the delegates, while keynote speeches will be delivered by Dr Ben Worthy of the University College London, Ibrahim Hasan from the “Save FOI“ campaign, and Christine O’Neill, a Partner at Brodies LLP.  The seminar will be chaired by Professor Alan Page, Dean of the Dundee Law School and co-Director of the Centre.

Ms Agnew said, “The Centre has a crucial role to play in promoting debate about FOI, and I’m pleased we are discussing such a critical and current topic. The role and nature of FOI is under close scrutiny both north and south of the border, and the current post-legislative review of FOI in Westminster is tackling many issues which are equally relevant here in Scotland.

“These include the cost of meeting FOI obligations, the relationships between requesters and authorities, and how we forge a way forward which keeps up with the times. I’m particularly pleased to have such a strong panel joining us to share their expertise, and I’m looking forward to a lively debate.”

The Dundee Centre was formed in 2009 with the aim of providing conceptual space to reflect on and discuss current FOI issues and practice. The Centre is currently developing a new vision and strategy, with Professor Kevin Dunion, Ms Agnew’s predecessor as Information Commissioner, taking up the role of co-Director alongside Professor Page.

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