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Right to see letters.

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Re: Right to see letters.

Postby Hairyloon » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:54 pm

The subject of the letter has asked the recipient for a copy.
They have now also asked the sender.
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Re: Right to see letters.

Postby dls » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:28 am

If (A) writes to (B) on behalf of (C) in their professional capacity, does C have any right to see the letter, or does A have the right to expect confidentialit
y

This is still confused.

Whose professional capacity? A, B or C? What professionl capacity? Different rules can easily apply.
'On behalf of'' - acting under C's paid instruction? From goodwill, or spite?

According to the answers, a likely result might be that C has the right to see the letter, and no question of confidence arises. But that could easily be wrong for many answers.
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Re: Right to see letters.

Postby Hairyloon » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:29 am

Ok, let's say that A is an MP, B is a minister and C is the MP's constituent.
The letter relates to a complaint about the conduct of the minister's department and the MP appears to think the constituent is deluded and has imagined the grounds for complaint and the minister's response is consistent with the MP's approach.
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Re: Right to see letters.

Postby atticus » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:49 am

in which case, are you sure C is not deluded in thinking the MP has written a letter?

Alternatively, C can make FOI and/or subject access requests.
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Re: Right to see letters.

Postby dls » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:33 am

There will be particular rules applicable to MPs correspondence.

The constituent has no ownership in the correspondence, but might (I haven't looked it up) have a Freedom of Information or Data Protection request.
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Re: Right to see letters.

Postby Hairyloon » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:53 pm

atticus wrote:in which case, are you sure C is not deluded in thinking the MP has written a letter?

Reasonably sure: I have seen the letter the minister wrote in reply.

Alternatively, C can make FOI and/or subject access requests.

Nobody has refused to provide the letter yet.
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Re: Right to see letters.

Postby dls » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:44 am

HL,

When discusing any question of confidentiality, after establishing that a confidence exists (not always obvious), always be clear who owns it. Confidence attaches to the iinformation not the object. A letter is not itself confidential- confidentiality can attach to information included in it. It attaches to information known only to a small group of people, and it is they who have the right to control the dissemination of that information - they own it.

The phrase 'this letter is confidential' is potentially misleading. It has to be read 'information in this letter is held in confidence'
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