Application for Review within 6 months
An application for a review of a public body's FOI decision should generally be made to the Commissioner within six months. The Commissioner may extend this time limit if he considers that there are reasonable grounds for doing so. (If the decision is a decision on a request to which Section 38 applies, or if the decision is to extend the time limit taken for considering the request, then the application must be made within two weeks).
Apply in Writing
Appeals to the Information Commissioner are called "applications for review". If you want the Commissioner to review a decision made by a public body on your FOI request, you must apply in writing and pay the appropriate fee. You may apply by post; you may hand-deliver your application to the Office; and you can also apply on-line. If you wish to apply on-line, please read our disclaimer. Where an application for review is received outside of office hours, we will treat it as if it was received on the next business day.
What your application should include:
- Your application should include your name, address, telephone number and any other contact details (e.g. email address)
- the name of the public body to which the FOI request was made
- the correct fee - see section on fees on this site
- if you believe that no fee or a reduced fee is payable, please provide supporting information
- the reference number of the public body's decision (if you have it)
- you should also state clearly the aspects of the public body's decision that you are unhappy with and which you are requesting the Commissioner to review.
Pay a fee if one is due
The FOI Act states that the Commissioner must charge a fee of €50 and that he cannot accept an application unless the fee is paid. If a fee is due but not paid, we cannot process your application. In effect, non-payment of a fee is as if your application to the Commissioner was not made at all. There are some circumstances where a fee is not payable, such as where records contain only personal information about the requester.
If you are a medical card holder, or the dependent of a medical card holder, or if you are a third party appealing the decision of a public body to release your information, then the fee is €15 .
The Commissioner does not have any discretion about fees. This requirement to pay a fee came into force in 2003. If you would like to check with us to see if a fee is due in your case, please email us. If you establish that a fee is due in your case, you may pay your fee on-line. As stated above, the Commissioner cannot accept your application until the fee is paid.
It is important to note that the date of receipt of the email or fax is NOT taken as the date of the application. The date of the application is the date when both the application and the correct fee are received. This should be borne in mind where the date of the making of the application is of importance (for example, if it is near the 6 month limit for appealing). Applications for review which are made online are valid only if they are made on the form provided on this site. Applications sent to the email addresses of individual staff members are not valid.
Your application will be acknowledged
Your application will be acknowledged by the Office of the Information Commissioner immediately and you will be notified as soon as the Commissioner has decided whether or not to accept your application for review.
Several sections of the Information Commissioner's website outline certain aspects of the FOI Acts and provide a plain English version of them. By doing this the Commissioner hopes to assist the general public in their understanding of the rights which Ireland's FOI legislation confers on them, and of the responsibilities of public bodies under the Acts. These pages are intended as a non-technical guide to certain aspects of the Acts. They do not represent a legal interpretation and should not be taken as a definitive representation of anything contained in the Acts. The only definitive statement of the law relating to freedom of information in Ireland is the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act, 2003, together with any associated regulations.