Government Models and the Presumption of Disclosure

20 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020

Date Written: July 15, 2020


In recent decades, public bodies in the UK have increasingly relied on models, of differing levels of sophistication, to assist them with decision-making. However, officials are often reluctant to disclose such models. An important question of public law that results is if and when a public authority is under a duty to disclose a model. This article argues that there has now emerged a clear line of authorities which establishes a strong common law presumption in favor of disclosure. The principles around this presumption are likely to be an increasingly contested aspect of administrative law in the coming years and a clear legal framework is required. We therefore propose a three-stage approach which is both faithful to precedent and sensitive to the tensions surrounding this issue.

Suggested Citation

Tomlinson, Joe and Maxwell, Jack, Government Models and the Presumption of Disclosure (July 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Joe Tomlinson (Contact Author)

University of York ( email )

United Kingdom

Jack Maxwell

Public Law Project ( email )

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