There are 23 exemptions from the general rights of access, split into two sections absolute and qualified exemptions.
Qualified exemptions are those which will only apply where pressing public interest arguments can be made for withholding the information (the public interest in withholding it is greater than the public interest in releasing it).
Section 22 Information intended for future publicatio
Section 24 National security (other than information supplied by or relating to named security organisations, where the duty
to consider disclosure in the public interest does not apply
Section 26 Defence
Section 27 International relations
Section 28 Relations within the United Kingdom
Section 29 The economy
Section 30 Investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities
Section 31 Law enforcement
Section 33 Audit functions
Section 35 Formulation of government policy
Section 36 Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs (except information held by the House of Commons or the House of
Section 37 Communications with Her Majesty, etc and honours
Section 38 Health and Safety
Section 39 Environmental information as this can be accessed through the Environmental Information Regulations
Section 40 Personal Information as there is already access to such information under the DPA. Personal data about other
people cannot be released if to do so would breach the DPA
Section 41 Legal professional privilege
Section 43 Commercial interests
Where a public authority considers that the public interest in withholding information requested outweighs the public interest in releasing it, the authority must inform the applicant of its reasons, unless to do so would mean releasing the exempt information.
Absolute exemptions are those where the public interest test does not apply and the public authority may withhold the information without considering any public interest arguments.
Section 21 Information accessible to applicant by other means
Section 23 Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters
Section 32 Court records, etc
Section 34 Parliamentary privilege
Section 36 Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs
Section 40 Personal information
Section 41 Information provided in confidence
Section 44 Prohibitions on disclosure where a disclosure is prohibited by an enactment or would constitute contempt of