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What is the difference between an exemption and a conditional exemption?

Exemptions are not subject to an overriding public interest test. If a document meets the criteria to establish a particular exemption, it is exempt from release. See Part 5 of the Guidelines and Agency resource 5: Exemptions and conditional exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act.

Conditional exemptions, on the other hand, are subject to the public interest test. The public interest test involves determining whether, on balance, the benefit to the public resulting from disclosure is outweighed by the benefit to the public of withholding the information. See Part 6 of the Guidelines and Agency resource 5: Exemptions and conditional exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act.