Latest updates - last updated 1 August 2023
1 August 2023 - We have added the following Further reading resources:
- FOI self-assessment toolkit – vexatious requests
- FOI and EIR video training modules - vexatious, repeated and manifestly unreasonable requests
About this detailed guidance
This guidance discusses section 14(1) of FOIA, the provision for vexatious requests in detail and is written for use by public authorities. Read it if you have questions not answered in the Guide, or if you need a deeper understanding to help you apply section 14(1) in practice.
- What does section 14(1) of FOIA say?
- What does vexatious mean?
- What are the four broad themes?
- How do we assess value or serious purpose?
- How do we consider burden, motive and harassment?
- Does the value and purpose of the request justify its impact?
- How do we deal with a single burdensome request?
- Are round robin requests vexatious?
- Are random and speculative requests vexatious?
- Can a request for published information be vexatious?
- Are requests made as part of a campaign vexatious?
- What actions are recommended before making a final decision?
- Are there alternative approaches?
- What do we do once we’ve decided to refuse a request under section 14?
- Section 17(6) and refusal notices
- What will the ICO expect from an authority?
- Further Reading
- Annex of example tribunal decisions
- Burden - pattern of request making
- Lack of value and purpose of the request (reopening issues that have been resolved) and motive
- Lack of value and purpose of the request (reopening issues that have been conclusively resolved)
- Harassment of member of staff (due to volume of requests)
- Burden and harassment of staff
- Value and purpose justifies the burden
- Burden when seen in context of previous requests
- Not vexatious when viewed in context