First known use of FOI by lawyers

The Lawyer magazine reports that the firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary has sent a FOIA request to the Office of Fair Trading, in what is thought to be one of the first uses of the act by lawyers.

The firm’s request, mailed 6 January, seeks all internal communications from an OFT investigation into abuses by Pernod¬ís rival Bacardi. It has also asked to see Bacardi¬ís response to a rule 14 notice where the regulator set out its case against the company. View the full article here.

This will be an interesting case to watch. It is important for the legal and commercial sectors to see how the new access laws benefit them, rather than the current focus which speculates on how the laws could negatively impact business and legal affairs.

It is often pointed out that in America, businesses are the major users of the FOIA. The openness laws have not slowed the mighty US economy; rather just the opposite. Transparent tendering and regulation has created a highly competitive business environment that leads to innovation and cost efficiency. The same will prove true in this country.

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