Report on Jersey int’l finance centre to remain secret: judgment

A report that dates back at least six years, which has been the subject of much interest in Jersey because of what it is said to say about the cost of a major and controversial project currently being built on Jersey’s waterfront, does not need to be made public by the States of Jersey, the island’s information commissioner has ruled.

In a statement dated today,  Jersey’s Office of the Information Commissioner noted that information commissioner Emma Martin had determined that “the States do not have to disclose a 2009 report into the financial implications of the Jersey International Finance Centre development under the Island’s Freedom of Information legislation”, because, she said, the States’ Treasury and Resources department “was justified in four of five exemptions that it cited in refusing” to do so.

The case represented the first under Jersey’s five-year-old Freedom of Information legislation to reach the final appeal stage since the law was brought into force at the start of 2015.

According to the statement, Martin ruled that the States of Jersey was justified in seeking to not make public the findings of the report on grounds that the information it contained had been supplied in confidence, could prejudice commercial interests, prejudice the economy, and prejudice the formulation and development of government policy.

But she ruled that the States of Jersey Treasury department’s argument that the contents of the report should be exempted from having to be made public on grounds of  “vexatious requests” that it do so was not justified.

The report had been prepared for the States of Jersey by by King Sturge/Currie and Brown/Trowers & Hamlin.

The International Finance Centre project is a multi-building development being built along Jersey’s waterfront, in St Helier. The first planning permissions were granted in 2013, but the project has been mired in controversy. Earlier this month Jersey’s environment minister rejected an appeal against plans to build the development’s second office block, according to a report in the Jersey Evening Post.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is the editor of International Investment. A US-trained journalist, she has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering everything from the fashion and retailing industries to the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

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