The Freedom of Information Act provides, that from 21 April 1998, every person has the following new legal rights:
- the right to access official records held by Government Departments or other public bodies listed in the Act;
- the right to have personal information held on them corrected or updated where such information is incomplete, incorrect or misleading; and
- the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by public bodies that affect them.
These rights mean that people can seek access to personal information held on them no matter when the information was created, and to other records created after 21 April 1998. Access to information under the Act is subject to certain exemptions and involves specific procedures and time limits.