Matthew Hill has successfully defended the right to privacy and confidentiality of former Prime Ministers and their employees in a claim arising from the Freedom of Information Act.

The Public Duty Costs Allowance was established in 1991 to help meet the costs former Prime Ministers continue to incur as a result of public duties associated with their previous position in public life. Typically, these relate to the costs of running an office, in particular staff salaries and pensions. The annual amount claimed by each Prime Minister is published.

A freelance journalist made a Freedom of Information request to obtain the invoices submitted in support of the claims made by Baroness Thatcher, Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Matthew represented the Cabinet Office in lengthy procedural proceedings before the Upper Tribunal, where he succeeded in having the case remitted to the First-tier Tribunal: see GW v (1) The Information Commissioner, (2) The Cabinet Office [2017] UKUT 312 (AAC). He then appeared before the Tribunal, successfully arguing that the information should not be released on the basis that it was confidential and there was no public interest that justified breaching that confidence.

The case concerned the rights to privacy of both the former Prime Ministers and their staff, the public interest in disclosing the salaries of those paid through public funds, the applicability of cases arising from the Parliamentary expenses scandal, and the interaction of articles 8 and 10 ECHR.

Matthew was instructed by the GLD.