Exemptions

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).  
 
They are:
 
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 
                         Lords)
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.
 
They are:
 
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
                        court.