What price would you pay to let UK citizens know the law they are subject to?
The Privy Council has refused to provide me with a list of all the Orders of the Privy Council which are part of UK law. I was not even asking for the Orders themselves I just requested a list.
The Privy Council refused on cost grounds.
It would in theory be possible for me to construct my own list by:
(a) visiting the National Archives
(b) visiting the National Library
(c) pursuing my Freedom of Information request restricted to Orders from 1994 onwards
I will certainly be doing (c).
I think there are three general problems here with the British democratic system that need to be resolved:
(1) law is being made by unaccountable bodies and through the exercise of Royal Prerogative by-passing elected law-makers in the House of Commons
(2) the law is not being published in full and in an accessible form
(3) the Freedom of Information Act contains a cost exemption The limit is £600 for central government and Parliament and £450 for other public authorities. It sometimes feels like public authorities know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. There needs to be a mechanism to challenge the cost exemption where the public interests justifies the cost of disclosure.