Manner of access to records
17. (1) A head may give access under this Act to a record by providing the requester—
(a) with a copy of the record,
(b) with a transcript of the information concerned,
(c) where available in such form and subject to subsection (2), with a searchable electronic version of the record,
(d) with a reasonable opportunity to inspect the record,
(e) in case the record is of sound or visual images, with a reasonable opportunity to hear or view the record,
(f) in case the information is in shorthand or other code, with the information unencoded in written form or such other form as may be determined,
(g) with the information in such other form or manner as may be determined, or
(h) with the information in a combination of any 2 or more of the foregoing.
(2) Where a head decides to grant an FOI request and the request is for access in a particular form or manner to a record, such access shall be given in that form or manner unless the head concerned is satisfied—
(a) that such access in another form or manner specified in or determined under subsection (1) would be significantly more efficient, or
(b) that the giving of access in the form or manner requested would—
(i) be physically detrimental to the record,
(ii) involve an infringement of copyright (other than copyright owned by the State, the Government or the FOI body concerned),
(iii) conflict with a legal duty or obligation of an FOI body, or
(iv) prejudice, impair or damage any interest protected by Part 4 or 5.
(3) Where a head decides to grant an FOI request but not to give access to the record concerned in the form or manner specified in the request, he or she shall give such access—
(a) if the case is one to which paragraph (a) of subsection (2) applies, in the appropriate form or manner having regard to that paragraph, and
(b) if the case is one to which paragraph (b) of that subsection applies, in such other form or manner specified in or determined under subsection (1) as may be agreed by the head and the requester or, if those persons are unable to agree upon such a form, in such form specified in subsection (1) as the head considers appropriate.
(4) Where an FOI request relates to data contained in more than one record held on an electronic device by the FOI body concerned—
(a) subject to paragraph (b), the FOI body shall take reasonable steps to search for and extract the records to which the request relates, being steps that involve the use of any facility for electronic search or extraction that existed on the date of the request and was used by the FOI body in the ordinary course, and
(b) if the reasonable steps referred to in paragraph (a) result in the creation of a new record, that record shall, for the purposes of considering whether or not such new record should be disclosed in response to the request, be deemed to have been created on the date of receipt of the FOI request.