Tribunal Refuses Strike Out Application, Upholding Appellant's Right to Full Hearing

Citation: [2024] UKFTT 10 (GRC)
Judgment on


This article examines the key topics and legal principles asserted in the case of G Brida v Information Commissioner ([2024] UKFTT 10 (GRC)). We will analyze the grounds on which the application for a strike out was refused, the reasons set forth by Judge Alison McKenna, and the implications for future proceedings under the Tribunal’s Rules of the General Regulatory Chamber.

Key Facts

The facts of the case revolve around an appeal against a Decision Notice issued by the Information Commissioner on 11 September 2023, wherein the Commissioner concluded that the public authority could legitimately rely on section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to refuse the information request made by the Appellant, Mr. G. Brida. Subsequently, an application was made by the Information Commissioner on 16 November 2023 to strike out Mr. Brida’s Notice of Appeal. The argument for the strike out centered on the lack of reasonable prospects of success for the appeal.

The legal principles deployed in this case make reference to the Tribunal’s Rules – specifically rule 8 (3)(c) for strike out applications – and the First-tier Tribunal’s approach to such applications, drawing on the relevant case of HMRC v Fairford Group [2014] UKUT 0329 (TCC).

Judge McKenna applied the principles from the Fairford case, noting that strike out applications should avoid becoming “mini-trials” and should only dismiss cases that are not fit for a full hearing at all. The Tribunal must discern if there exists a realistic prospect of success for the appeal, as opposed to a fanciful one without any substance.

Furthermore, the decision aligns with the Tribunal’s duty bound by rule 2 to act fairly and justly, ensuring that the case management powers are used to facilitate resolution of the proceedings.


Judge McKenna concluded that the Appellant’s case contained substantial arguments over 22 pages identifying challenges to key conclusions of the Decision Notice, assessments about procedural aspects of the Information Commissioner’s conduct, and considerations regarding the weight and inherent value of the information requested.

The appeals’ grounds touched on the applicability of s. 14 FOIA, the perceived burden to the public authority, and the acknowledgment that the appellant’s request might have intrinsic value. As such, the Appellant presented a case with sufficient substance to be triable, and Judge McKenna determined there was a viable legal and factual basis to hold a full hearing.


In G Brida v Information Commissioner, the application for a strike out was refused per the judicial examination of the materials presented. The crux lies in the First-tier Tribunal’s responsibility to allow an appeal to proceed when it presents a realistic prospect of success, ensuring a fair and just process. This judgement serves as a reinforcement of the principle that the Tribunal should not dispose of cases lightly and that even without a strong likelihood of success, an appellant’s right to a hearing should be preserved where a triable issue is identified.