Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

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Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

This Act covers Scottish public authorities. Also known as FOISA.

The law differs slightly from the UK FOI Act. Main differences:

  • Scottish test for public interest is stated in terms of "substantial prejudice" rather than "prejudice" making it stronger
  • FOISA imposes a stricter time limit in cases where public interest has to be considered.
  • FOISA contains explicit mention of disability access rights
  • FOISA lists the duties incumbent on a body which does not have the information requested
  • FOISA provides for an objective test (rather than "the reasonable opinion of a qualified person") to determine if the public interest means information should be withheld.



The exemptions are similar to the UK FOI exemptions. There are differences in the numbering system however, so check carefully under which law the public authority has responded.

Exemption 25 Information otherwise accessible Exemption 26 Prohibitions on disclosure Exemption 27 Information intended for future publication Exemption 28 Relations within the United Kingdom Exemption 29 Formulation of Scottish Administration policy etc. Exemption 30 Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs Exemption 31 National security and defence Exemption 32 International relations Exemption 33 Commercial interests and the economy Exemption 34 Investigations by Scottish public authorities and proceedings arising out of such investigations Exemption 35 Law enforcement Exemption 36 Confidentiality Exemption 37 Court records, etc. Exemption 38 Personal information Exemption 39 Health, safety and the environment Exemption 40 Audit functions Exemption 41 Communications with Her Majesty etc. and honours