Normally a parent or guardian can have access to their child’s medical records however, it all depends on the circumstances at the time of the request. Each FOI request should be looked at on its own merits, the records should be considered, the circumstances which are surrounding the records at the point in time when the request is made along with any other relevant factors.
Public Bodies should consider Section 35 and Section 37 along with any other exemptions that may be relevant. Public Bodies should refer to the CPU Guidance Notes in relation to this. In all circumstances the decision makers should have due regard for the best interests of the person to whom the information relates.
The Act sets no age at which a person is held to be capable of understanding the FOI process, making an application or participating in the consultation process. However, under section 37(8) of the Act the Minister for Finance made Regulation S.I. No. 387 of 2009 allowing for access by parents or guardians to the personal information of:
• minors; or
• persons with a mental condition, incapacity or severe physical disability which means that they are incapable of exercising their rights under the Act.