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Philip Kolvin

Damien Welfare

Called
2001
Telephone
020 7242 4986
Clerk
Sam Collins
CV
Email

Damien's practice concentrates on two areas of Public Law: governance, powers, and decision-making in local authorities and public organisations; and, Information Law (Data Protection, Freedom of Information, and the Environmental Information Regulations or "EIR").

Damien's practice concentrates on two areas of Public Law: governance, powers, and decision-making in local authorities and public organisations; and, Information Law (Data Protection, Freedom of Information, and the Environmental Information Regulations or "EIR").

He is ranked as a leading Junior for Administrative and Public Law in the Legal 500 2015, and for Data Protection in Chambers and Partners 2015.

Damien came to the Bar in 2001 following a career in local government. This gives him a unique understanding and background knowledge from which his public authority clients benefit in addition to his legal expertise.

Damien has authored a number of articles for publications such as Westlaw UK Insight, the Freedom of Information Journal and Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law. He also provides training for lawyers and practitioners in areas such as local authority governance, councillor conduct, and information law


Governance, powers and decision-making
On governance, powers and decision-making, he has a particular focus on areas of change arising from new legislation or guidance, such as the introduction of executive decision-making and constitutions in local government, wide general powers for local authorities (originally the power of "well-being", and now the general power of competence), successive conduct regimes for local authority councillors, and frequent changes to local government finance rules. He has advised or acted for public authorities in all of these areas, including on issues such as:

  • innovative council financial schemes;
  • proposed changes to governance structures;
  • innovative property schemes involving charities;
  • proposed trading by public bodies;
  • local authority charging powers;
  • council tax referendum; and
  • the impact of EU state aids rules on housing investment, and regeneration schemes.

He has drafted, or substantially amended, council constitutions and a substantial delegation scheme to schools (including extensive consultation on the latter).

Damien is a contributor to Cornerstone on Councillors' Conduct, the definitive guide to local government standards, produced by Cornerstone Barristers.


FOI and data protection
Damien specialises in providing clients with knowledgeable counsel when there is a serious reputational or legal risk in relation to FOI and data protection issues. His experience includes representing clients in successful appeals over disclosure of:

  • commercially confidential information in a planning viability assessment;
  • a planning appraisal report;
  • draft committee documents, and officer correspondence;
  • legal advice and property information; and;
  • information on public rights of way.

Damien has successfully defended a personal data compensation claim for a local authority and he advises regularly on subject access requests, disclosure under FOI/EIR requests, the scope of environmental information, and schemes for the sharing of personal data.

Damien is available to be instructed on a retainer basis on Information Law matters, giving up to 100 hours of advice, drafting, guidance or training over a year, for a cost-effective single fee. For further details please contact the clerks on 020 7242 4986 or email clerks@cornerstonebarristers.com.

"Personable and technically astute." - Legal 500 2017

"Able to take on large, complex matters with ease; a joy to instruct." Legal 500 2016

"He proved to be an excellent adviser when handling a very high-profile, politically sensitive and complex matter arising under the FOIA. He demonstrated an ability to articulate robust legal argument." Chambers & Partners 2016

"A specialist in local government powers and decision-making processes." Legal 500 2015

Overview

Damien advises regularly on data protection issues including complex subject access requests (e.g. in social care). He has a particular specialism in FOI/EIR requests involving the personal data of third parties, which require detailed application of the rules under s 40, Freedom of Information Act 2000, or Regulation 13, EIR 2004. He also gives regular and well-received training on that subject.

Other experience includes:

  • Successfully defending a personal data compensation claim for a local authority.
  • Advising on the sharing of personal data between organisations, including drafting of data sharing agreements.

On Freedom of Information/environmental information, Damien's experience includes representing clients in successful appeals over:

  • the disclosure of commercially confidential information in a planning viability assessment;
  • a planning appraisal report;
  • draft committee documents (and surrounding officer correspondence);
  • legal advice and property information; and
  • information on public rights of way.

He also advises regularly on disclosure under FOI/EIR requests, and the scope of environmental information (on which he has also written and delivers training)

Damien is available to be instructed on a retainer basis on Information Law matters, giving up to 100 hours of advice, drafting, guidance or training over a year, for a cost-effective single fee. For further details please contact the clerks on 020 7242 4986 or email clerks@cornerstonebarristers.com.

Overview

Damien advises regularly on issues of Public Law and Judicial Review, notably in relation to innovative schemes under consideration by public authorities.

Examples on which Damien has advised include:

  • Business rate relief
  • Council tax rebates
  • Schools delegations
  • Impact of EU State Aids legislation on local regeneration

Damien has also represented local authorities in judicial reviews of conduct and market trading decisions.


Local authority governance and services
Areas of change on which Damien has advised include: innovative uses of local authority general powers (the general power of competence, and the former well-being power); decision-making under executive and council functions, and changes to executive arrangements; member participation in decisions; innovative electoral matters; the validity of a motion in council; and, a major scheme for delegations to schools. He has represented an authority in a judicial review of a conduct decision, and advised on member conduct issues, complaints investigation, and application of standards of conduct to parish councils.

On finance, Damien has advised on several innovative schemes relating to council tax, council tax benefit and local funding. He has advised on the impact of EU State Aids rules on housing investment plans, and on a regeneration scheme. He has advised local authorities on procurement and tendering issues, trading by local authorities, and the impact of charity law and European procurement on a proposed major transfer of land.

As examples of the breadth of his experience, Damien has also dealt with issues concerning a persistent complainant to a local authority, vehicle permits, the use of council rooms, and the drafting of bye-laws.

All of Damien's work for local authorities, and the public sector generally, is informed by his having worked in local government for almost twenty years before coming to the Bar.


Information law
Examples on which Damien has advised include:

  • Data sharing powers and agreements
  • Disclosure and use of CCTV data
  • Powers to disclose social security data of an individual to a public authority
  • Disclosure of the addresses of council tenants
  • Application of commercial confidentiality exception under EIR to scientific monitoring information
  • Whether information held by a contractor should be treated as "held" by the public authority
  • Telephone monitoring under Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA)
  • Innovative scheme of data sharing for local authority services (advice on, and drafting of, scheme).
  • Advice on contentious FOI request within authority, and interrelationship with councillors' rights to access to information.
  • Advice on other EIR and subject access requests in contentious circumstances within local authority
  • Use of council information for other purposes
  • Application of FOI to parish council's business
  • Advice on s 36, FOIA (prejudice to conduct of public affairs) and drafting of submissions to Information Commissioner
  • Sharing of customers' personal data
  • Accidental disclosure and remedies
  • Data security and notification to Information Commissioner of breaches
  • Obligations/preparations arising from extension of FOI to new public authority (oral advice)

Cases

LB Southwark v Information Commission, Lend Lease (Elephant and Castle) Ltd, and Adrian Glasspool, First-Tier Tribunal, Information Rights
17.03.2015
EA/2013/0162 - Represented LB Southwark (with Jack Parker) in .appeal against disclosure of whole of planning viability assessment. Appeal partially allowed.....

Confidentiality Of Viability Assessments In Planning
15.05.2014
Confidentiality Of Viability Assessments In Planning: Tribunal Overturns Information Commissioner's Decision That Council Should Disclose Affordable Housing Viability Assessment Submitted As Part Of Planning Application. In a significant decision for local....

Cheshire East BC v Information Commissioner and Beverley Moore
13.05.2014
SEA/2013/0114 - Successful appeal in First-Tier Tribunal, Information Rights, against disclosure of legal advice and an appraisal report containing confidential commercial information about a town centre development. (Written representations).....

William Urmenyi v Information Commissioner and London Borough of Sutton
28.03.2013
EA/2006/0093 – successfully represented local authority in appeal by requester for information concerning penalty charge notices.....

Christopher Boddy v ICO and North Norfolk District Council
28.03.2013
EA/2007/0074 (written representations) – successfully represented local authority in appeal by requester to First-Tier Tribunal for access to legal advice concerning land.....

Neath Port Talbot CBC v Information Commissioner
28.03.2013
EA/2011/0037 – represented local authority in appeal to First-Tier Tribunal over disclosure of lists of addresses of council-owned properties.....

Keith Starkey V Information Commissioner And Governing Body Of University Of Reading
28.03.2013
EA/2012/0027; [2012] UKFTT EA_2012_0027 - Successfully represented University in appeal by a requester to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) against a decision of the Information Commissioner, concerning a request for....

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council V Information Commissioner
28.03.2013
EA/2012/0117 - [2012] UKFTT EA_2012_0117 (GRC) - Successful appeal (written representations) to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) against a decision ordering disclosure of drafts of a report and correspondence on....

Willem Visser v Information Commissioner and Southwark Council
28.03.2013
EA/2012/0125 - Appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) (heard by written representations) over whether information held by a contractor was "held" for the purposes of the FOI Act.....

Cornerstone Barristers takes part in launch of new online legal encyclopaedia
10.12.2012
Members of Cornerstone Barristers have played a leading role in contributing to a new online encyclopaedia, launched on 10th December 2012. The "Westlaw UK Insight" is an online legal encyclopaedia....

Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law
21.06.2010
We are pleased to announce the new edition of Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law published by Sweet and Maxwell. The new edition presents a concise definition of each expression which forms....

News

Freedom of Information Journal - Personal data in FOIA/ EIRs requests — changes and developments
06.06.2016
Damien Welfare has authored an article for the Freedom of Information Journal which looks at the application of the personal data exemption to information requests and the potential impacts of....

Overview

Damien has a specialist interest in the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 ("EIR") on which he has written, and delivers regular training.

He has represented local authorities or public bodies successfully in the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) on a number of EIR issues, including: commercially confidential information in a planning viability assessment; a planning appraisal report; draft committee documents (and surrounding officer correspondence); legal advice andproperty information; and, information on public rights of way.

He has advised on a number of EIR matters, including: the application of the regime to a planning viability assessment; commercial confidentiality and scientific monitoring information; the risk analysis of a regeneration project; and, draft local authority reports on a tendering matter involving land.

Cases include:

  • Epsom and Ewell Borough Council v Information Commissioner, EA/2014/0232, 11th February 2015 Successful appeal (settled by consent order) over disclosure of commercially confidential information about a property sale, and legal advice.
  • LB Southwark v Information Commission, Lend Lease (Elephant and Castle) Ltd, and Adrian Glasspool, EA/2013/0162, First-Tier Tribunal, Information Rights
  • Represented LB Southwark (with Jack Parker) in appeal against disclosure of whole of planning viability assessment. Appeal partially allowed.
  • Keith Starkey V Information Commissioner And Governing Body Of University Of Reading EA/2012/0027; [2012] UKFTT EA_2012_0027 Successfully represented University in appeal by a requester to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) against a decision of the Information Commissioner, concerning a request for information about public rights of way.
  • Cheshire East BC v Information Commissioner and Beverley Moore, EA/2013/0114.
  • Successful appeal in First-Tier Tribunal, Information Rights, against disclosure of legal advice and an appraisal report containing confidential commercial information about a town centre development. (Written representations).
  • Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council v Information Commissioner EA/2012/0117; [2012] UKFTT EA_2012_0117 (GRC).
  • Successful appeal (written representations) to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) against a decision ordering disclosure of drafts of a report and correspondence on a procurement matter concerning grounds maintenance.

Cases

Training Session for Kent Secretaries
09.03.2007

Training Session for Kent Secretaries
Friday, March 09, 2007

....

Freedom of Information Journal - Personal data in FOIA/ EIRs requests — changes and developments

6th June 2016

Damien Welfare has authored an article for the Freedom of Information Journal which looks at the application of the personal data exemption to information requests and the potential impacts of the new Data Protection Regulation.

Click here to view the full article.

Cornerstone on Councillors' Conduct

1st September 2015

Edited by Philip Kolvin QC, Head of Cornerstone Barristers, and written by members of Chambers, Cornerstone on Councillors' Conduct identifies and explains the standards that govern the conduct of those elected to Local Government in England and Wales.

Contributors to Cornerstone on Councillors' Conduct include: James Findlay QC, Philip Coppel QC, Robin Green, Harriet Townsend, Wayne Beglan, Damien Welfare, Estelle Dehon, Ryan Kohli, Robert Williams, Emma Dring, Zoe Whittington, Jack Parker and Matt Lewin.

The book has been designed as a readable, practical guide for all those involved in local government, including officers, councillors, monitoring officers and lawyers.

With the foreword kindly contributed by Cllr David Sparks, the Chairman of the Local Government Association, topics considered within the guide include:

  • The standards regime
  • Councillors' conduct and decision-making
  • Complaints procedure
  • Challenging council decisions
  • Offences

Reviews include:

Cornerstone Barristers has produced a "book which is not only extremely useful from a professional standpoint, but it is also eminently readable." It "is not just a handy reference book to Councillors' conduct: it is an indispensable guide and should be the first port of call when questions arise." James Button and Co-Bulletin

The publication"skilfully navigates its way through the dense and dangerous jungle of intervening statutory, guidance, caselaw and other foliage from the former Standards Board regime (following the Donnygate scandal) to the present slimmed-down but imperfect present." Nicholas Dobson, a Consultant with Freeths LLP writing for Local Government Lawyer

Click here to purchase a copy.

Philip Kolvin QC discusses the issues confronting local councillors and the need for a consistent approach to standards of conduct in an interview with Bloomsbury Professional.

Westlaw Insight

1st December 2012

  • Local Government Functions: General Power of Competence
  • Local Authority Structure: Executive Arrangements (with Jack Parker)
  • Local government councillors: members' interests (with Jack Parker)
  • Local government councillors: political activities (with Jack Parker)
  • Local government finance: revenue

Learn more about Westlaw Insight

Privacy and Data Protection Journal: Clarifying the scope of personal data

28th August 2012

In an article for the Privacy & Data Protection Journal, Damien Welfare of Cornerstone Barristers, discusses the challenges for organisations in interpreting the definition of 'personal data' in the Data Protection Act 1998, considers the ambiguities created by inconsistencies between domestic case law and guidance on the subject, looks at confusion over the meaning of the Data Protection Act over disclosing anonymised personal data such as statistics, and explains the extent to which a new draft EU Regulation may provide greater clarity.

The Article 'Clarifying the Scope of Personal Data' was published in the July/August Issue of the Privacy & Data Protection Journal (Volume 12, Issue 7).

Click here to view the article.

Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law

1st July 2010

Contributing editor to Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law (3rd edition, 2010)

Damien provides training on Information Law to a wide range of lawyers and information law practitioners, for PDP (formerly Privacy and Data Protection), and heads the Examination Board for its Practitioner Certificate in Freedom of Information.

  • Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
  • Human Rights Law Association (HRLA)

News

Damien Welfare comments on Freedom of Information Journal

11th October 2017

Damien Welfare of Cornerstone Barristers comments for the Freedom of information Journal. Please click here to view the article published by PDP. ....

News

Expert Comments on Freedom of Information

17th August 2017

Damien Welfare of Cornerstone Barristers provides expert comments for the Freedom Of Information Journal, published by PDP. Please click here to view the article.....

News

Freedom of Information Journal - Personal data in FOIA/ EIRs requests — changes and developments

6th June 2016

Damien Welfare has authored an article for the Freedom of Information Journal which looks at the application of the personal data exemption to information requests and the potential impacts of....

News

Cornerstone on Councillors’ Conduct

26th June 2015

Cornerstone on Councillors' Conduct, the definitive guide to local government standards, produced by Cornerstone Barristers, goes on sale today.

....

Case

LB Southwark v Information Commission, Lend Lease (Elephant and Castle) Ltd, and Adrian Glasspool, First-Tier Tribunal, Information Rights

17th March 2015

EA/2013/0162 - Represented LB Southwark (with Jack Parker) in .appeal against disclosure of whole of planning viability assessment. Appeal partially allowed.....

Case

Confidentiality Of Viability Assessments In Planning

15th May 2014

Confidentiality Of Viability Assessments In Planning: Tribunal Overturns Information Commissioner's Decision That Council Should Disclose Affordable Housing Viability Assessment Submitted As Part Of Planning Application. In a significant decision for local....

Case

Cheshire East BC v Information Commissioner and Beverley Moore

13th May 2014

SEA/2013/0114 - Successful appeal in First-Tier Tribunal, Information Rights, against disclosure of legal advice and an appraisal report containing confidential commercial information about a town centre development. (Written representations).....

Case

William Urmenyi v Information Commissioner and London Borough of Sutton

28th March 2013

EA/2006/0093 – successfully represented local authority in appeal by requester for information concerning penalty charge notices.....

Case

Christopher Boddy v ICO and North Norfolk District Council

28th March 2013

EA/2007/0074 (written representations) – successfully represented local authority in appeal by requester to First-Tier Tribunal for access to legal advice concerning land.....

Case

Neath Port Talbot CBC v Information Commissioner

28th March 2013

EA/2011/0037 – represented local authority in appeal to First-Tier Tribunal over disclosure of lists of addresses of council-owned properties.....

Case

Keith Starkey V Information Commissioner And Governing Body Of University Of Reading

28th March 2013

EA/2012/0027; [2012] UKFTT EA_2012_0027 - Successfully represented University in appeal by a requester to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) against a decision of the Information Commissioner, concerning a request for....

Case

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council V Information Commissioner

28th March 2013

EA/2012/0117 - [2012] UKFTT EA_2012_0117 (GRC) - Successful appeal (written representations) to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) against a decision ordering disclosure of drafts of a report and correspondence on....

Case

Willem Visser v Information Commissioner and Southwark Council

28th March 2013

EA/2012/0125 - Appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) (heard by written representations) over whether information held by a contractor was "held" for the purposes of the FOI Act.....

Case

Cornerstone Barristers takes part in launch of new online legal encyclopaedia

10th December 2012

Members of Cornerstone Barristers have played a leading role in contributing to a new online encyclopaedia, launched on 10th December 2012. The "Westlaw UK Insight" is an online legal encyclopaedia....

Case

Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law

21st June 2010

We are pleased to announce the new edition of Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law published by Sweet and Maxwell. The new edition presents a concise definition of each expression which forms....

Case

Training Session for Kent Secretaries

9th March 2007

Training Session for Kent Secretaries
Friday, March 09, 2007

....