Richard Orange, a freelance journalist who runs a web site covering local government in Lincolnshire is taking Lincolnshire County Council to a judicial review over access to public records.

According to Press Gazette, Lincolnshire Council keeps its financial documents in 851 seperate locations, making it more or less impossible for members of the public to access them as they are entitled to under the Audit Commission Act 1998.

Orange has been keeping an online diary of his fight with the council.

Part of his problem is that the council attempted to withhold the names of a number of barristers and consultants who have been paid a total of £901,000 from the public purse because they fear disclosing names would be a violation of the Human Rights Act or the Data Protection Act.

This over-cautious interpretation of the privacy laws is a common complaint from journalists trying to use public records laws in Britain.