Search Legislation

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Section 2 – Effect of exemptions

18.This section sets out the circumstances where the general entitlement to obtain information will apply to information which is exempt by virtue of a provision in Part 2. Section 2 deals with the application of the public interest test to such information.

19.The general entitlement to information which is exempt by virtue of any provision of Part 2 applies only to the extent that the provision does not confer absolute exemption and to the extent that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in disclosing the information is not outweighed by that in maintaining the exemption. If the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs that in disclosing the information, the information need not be disclosed.

20.Where a provision confers absolute exemption, the public interest in disclosure need not be considered. The provisions in Part 2 conferring absolute exemption are:

  • section 25 (information otherwise accessible)

  • section 26 (prohibitions on disclosure)

  • section 36(2) (information obtained from a person where its disclosure would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that person)

  • section 37 (court records etc.)

  • section 38(1)(a) (personal data of which the subject is the applicant)

  • section 38(1)(c) (personal census information)

  • section 38(1)(d) (health records of the deceased)

  • section 38(1)(b) (personal data), where the first condition referred to in that paragraph is satisfied by virtue of section 38(2)(a)(i) or 38(2)(b).

21.This ensures that the Act does not interfere with other statutory provisions (such as the Data Protection Act 1998) which allow information to be withheld; and that it does not require the disclosure of information which concerns an ongoing action in court, or of information which is otherwise accessible (and where it would be inappropriate to require the provisions of the Act to apply).

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Executive department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources