Access to information laws

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Main laws for accessing information

The following sections are the various laws that apply to FOI requests. Each section contains more details on process and exemption guidance:

  1. within 20 working days the authority will normally either send you the information you asked for or will refuse to send it, claiming one or more exemptions that are allowed to them under the laws.
  2. for refusals, you can ask to the authority to reconsider the way your request was handled.
  3. if that doesn't work you also have the right to appeal to a tribunal/court.

the Law

Main article: access to information laws

The following rules apply to information requests in the UK. Follow the links for more details on process and exemption guidance:

England and Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
Freedom of Information Act 2000 Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 Freedom of Information Act 2000
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 Environmental Information Regulations 2004
Data Protection Act 1998 Data Protection Act 1998 Data Protection Act 1998
INSPIRE Regulations 2009 The INSPIRE (Scotland) Regulations 2009 INSPIRE Regulations 2009
    North/South Bodies Freedom of Information Code of Practice

Other laws giving rights to information

These lists are not exhaustive.

Local Authorities


Coroners' Records

  • Coroners' rules [1]

Court Records

Rule 5.4 of the Civil Procedure Rules covers with access to court documents in civil proceedings in the county courts, the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Under that rule (on payment of the set fee) can inspect and take a copy of: (a) a claim form which has been served, (b) a judgment or order given or made in public, and c) any other document (with the court's gives permission)

Medical Records

Other

The Seven Principles of Public Life

The seven principles include three that are relevant to accessing public sector information: accountability, openness and transparency

Appeals