How to make FOI requests

How should I word my request?

What can I request?

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives you the right to access official, recorded information held by public authorities, including the Ministry of Justice.

Recorded information includes meeting notes or policy documents, for example.

If your request is for recorded information, this page will help you submit your FOI request to the correct organisation, and provide you with some tips on how best to word your request. If you wish to contact us because you have a question that you would like us to answer, for example about our policies, or you have a comment or complaint about our services, then please send your request to us via the 'contact page'. That will help us to answer your request more quickly.

Are you looking for your own personal data?

If you would like to request your own personal data or information about yourself then you should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), and not under the FOI Act. The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) allows you to find out what information we hold about you. This is known as the 'right of subject access', please see our guidance about how to make a subject access request under the DPA.

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Before you submit an FOI request

The information you are looking for may already be available, look at our disclosure log or statistical publications before submitting an FOI request – it may save you time

Make your request to the right organisation

Some bodies connected with the Ministry of Justice process their own FOI requests. The following information will help you send your request to the right place.

The Ministry of Justice

Your request is for the Ministry of Justice if it is for recorded information about one of the following categories:

  • prisons and offender management (NOMS)
  • the Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), (except the UK Supreme Court)
  • justice policy,
  • the way we run our business (information about our money, or our buildings, for example)

If your request does relate to one of the above categories, and you have not found what you need on our disclosure log or elsewhere on the Justice website, you can submit your request by post or via our online form:

Data Access and Compliance Unit
Postal Point 10.31, Floor 10
102 Petty France

If your FOI request does not relate to the Ministry of Justice, your request might be for one of the other bodies below.

Criminal Cases Review Commission

The Criminal Cases Review Commission is the independent public body set up to investigate possible miscarriages of justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Commission assesses whether convictions or sentences should be referred to a court of appeal.

Head of Communications
Human Resources,
Alpha Tower,
Suffolk St Queensway,
Birmingham,B1 1TT.

DX: 715466
Birmingham 41

Tel 0121 633 1800
Fax 0121 633 1823


Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

CICA is a government organisation that can pay money (compensation) to people who have been physically or mentally injured because they were the blameless victim of a violent crime. CICA processing applications and makes awards that ranging from £1,000 to £500,000.

If you are considering making a Freedom of Information request please look at the fees and charges information before contacting us.

Information Officer
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Communications and Customer Liaison Section
Tay House
300 Bath Street
G2 4LN

0141 331 5491


Independent Monitoring Boards

Independent Monitoring Boards (IMB) are statutory bodies that monitor the welfare of prisoners in the UK, ensuring that they are properly cared for within Prison and Immigration Centre rules, whilst in custody and detention.

If your Freedom of Information request relates to a specific IMB, please contact the Board directly via the prison or immigration removal centre to which it is attached. Your query should be marked for the attention of the IMB Clerk.

If your request relates to IMBs generally, please contact the IMB Secretariat.


Judicial Appointments Commission

The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) is an independent commission that selects candidates for judicial office in courts and tribunals in England and Wales, and for some tribunals whose jurisdiction extends to Scotland or Northern Ireland

If you are unable to find the information you require through our publication scheme, you can make a request for that information by contacting us.

Freedom of Information Office
Judicial Appointments Commission
1st Floor
Steel House
11 Tothill Street


Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman

The Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman investigates complaints about the judicial appointments process and the handling of matters involving judicial discipline or conduct.

9.53, 9th Floor, The Tower
102 Petty France
London SW1H 9AJ

Tel: 020 3334 2900
Fax: 020 3334 2913


Legal Services Commission

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) runs the legal aid scheme in England and Wales,  working in partnership with solicitors and not-for-profit organisations to provide information, advice and legal representation to people in need.

Legal Services Commission
4 Abbey Orchard Street

Legal Services Commission FOI pages

Parole Board

The Parole Board is an independent body that works with its criminal justice partners to protect the public by risk assessing prisoners to decide whether they can be safely released into the community.

Terry McCarthy
Head of Litigation
The Parole Board
Grenadier House
99-105 Horseferry Road
London, SW1P 2DX


Publication scheme (PDF 0.30mb)

Probation Trusts

Probation services are provided by 35 Probation Trusts across England and Wales. Trusts receive funding from the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) to which they are accountable for their performance and delivery.

Probation trusts are responsible for overseeing offenders released from prison on licence and those on community sentences made by judges and magistrates in the courts.

Probation Trusts are responsible for responding to their own Freedom of Information requests.

Individual Probation Trusts contact details.

Supreme Court

The UK Supreme Court:

  • is the final court of appeal for all United Kingdom civil cases, and criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • hears appeals on arguable points of law of general public importance
  • concentrates on cases of the greatest public and constitutional importance
  • maintains and develops the role of the highest court in the United Kingdom as a leader in the common law world

Departmental Records Officer
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square,

The UK Supreme Court - Access to information

Youth Justice Board

The YJB oversees the youth justice system in England and Wales, works to prevent offending and reoffending by children and young people under the age of 18, and ensures that custody for them is safe, secure, and addresses the causes of their offending behaviour.

Before making a request, check the YJB publication scheme  to see if the information is already publicly available.

Written requests should be addressed to:

Or addressed to: 

Freedom of Information Team
Youth Justice Board for England and Wales
102 Petty France

How should I word my request? 

Comprehensive guidance on submitting effective requests for information is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office. The do's and don'ts below should help to guide you in framing an effective request that will get you the information that you want.


  • clearly identify the information you want. If it is not clear what you  are requesting we may need to seek further clarification
  • be as specific as possible. If your request is too general it may be refused on the grounds that replying to it will exceed the cost limit laid down in the Fees Regulations, which is equivalent to one person working for 3 and a half days. If this happens we will ask you to re-submit a narrower, more specific request which could be met within the cost limits and give you advice and assistance to do so
  • ask questions such as 'what' or 'how much' as this is much more likely to result in a useful response; and
  • do use straightforward, polite language.


  • use open-ended questions such as 'why'.  We do not have to answer your question if this would mean creating new information or giving an opinion or judgment that is not already recorded
  • base your request on assumptions or opinions;
  • don't mix your request with complaints or comments.
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