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Judge rules against release of ID card review

The High Court has overturned a decision that the ID card gateway reviews should be published, meaning further delay while the Information Tribunal makes a new decision on publication
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Written by Nick Heath on

The High Court has quashed a ruling that a review of the ID card scheme should be published.

Judge Stanley Burnton overturned the decision by the Information Tribunal that the ID card gateway reviews should be published.

A new hearing of the Information Tribunal will now decide whether they should be published.

The High Court decision means further delay while the Information Tribunal makes a new decision on publication of the reviews and the possibility of further setbacks if this new decision is again challenged.

The matter was sent to the High Court after the Office of Government Commerce appealed a decision by the tribunal to uphold a decision by the Information Commissioner to require the reviews were disclosed to activist Mark Dziecielewski and MP Mark Oaten.

Reacting to the High Court's decision, a spokesman for the Information Commissioner's Office told ZDNet.co.uk's sister site, silicon.com: "In the Information Commissioner's view the public interest in disclosing this information is greater than the arguments put forward for keeping the information secret.

"In his view disclosure is likely to enhance public debate of issues such as the programme's feasibility and how it is managed."

Ruling against the tribunal's decision, the judge found that it had relied on the findings of a report on the confidentiality of gateway reviews by a parliamentary select committee on Work and Pensions.

Burnton said this put the tribunal and judiciary at risk of breaching the ancient right of parliamentary privilege that forbids courts from passing judgement on parliamentary decisions.

In the ruling, Burnton said: "In relying on the opinion of the select committee the tribunal took into account an illegitimate and irrelevant matter, and for this reason alone the first decision, and in consequence the second decision, must be quashed."

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