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.

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