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Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

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Review of refusal, etc.S

20 Requirement for review of refusal etc.S

(1)An applicant who is dissatisfied with the way in which a Scottish public authority has dealt with a request for information made under this Part of this Act may require the authority to review its actions and decisions in relation to that request.

(2)A requirement under subsection (1) is referred to in this Act as a “requirement for review”.

(3)A requirement for review must—

(a)be in writing or in another form which, by reason of its having some permanency, is capable of being used for subsequent reference (as, for example, a recording made on audio or video tape);

(b)state the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence; and

(c)specify—

(i)the request for information to which the requirement for review relates; and

(ii)the matter which gives rise to the applicant’s dissatisfaction mentioned in subsection (1).

(4)For the purposes of paragraph (a) of subsection (3) (and without prejudice to the generality of that paragraph), a requirement for review is treated as made in writing where the text of the requirement is as mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (c) of section 8(2).

(5)Subject to subsection (6), a requirement for review must be made by not later than the fortieth working day after—

(a)the expiry of the time allowed by or by virtue of section 10 for complying with the request; or

(b)in a case where the authority purports under this Act—

(i)to comply with a request for information; or

(ii)to give the applicant a fees notice, a refusal notice or a notice under section 17(1) that information is not held,

but does so outwith that time, the receipt by the applicant of the information provided or, as the case may be, the notice.

(6)A Scottish public authority may comply with a requirement for review made after the expiry of the time allowed by subsection (5) for making such a requirement if it considers it appropriate to do so.

(7)The Scottish Ministers may by regulations provide that subsections (5) and (6) are to have effect as if the reference in subsection (5) to the fortieth working day were a reference to such other working day as is specified in (or determined in accordance with) the regulations.

(8)Regulations under subsection (7) may—

(a)prescribe different days in relation to different cases; and

(b)confer a discretion on the Scottish Information Commissioner.

(9)In subsection (1), the reference to “actions” and “decisions” includes inaction and failure to reach a decision.

21 Review by Scottish public authorityS

(1)Subject to subsection (2), a Scottish public authority receiving a requirement for review must (unless that requirement is withdrawn or is as mentioned in subsection (8)) comply promptly; and in any event by not later than the twentieth working day after receipt by it of the requirement.

(2)If—

(a)the authority is the Keeper of the Records of Scotland; and

(b)a different authority is, by virtue of section 22(4), to review a decision to which the requirement relates,

subsection (1) applies with the substitution, for the reference to the twentieth working day, of a reference to the thirtieth working day.

(3)A requirement for review may be withdrawn by the applicant who made it, by notice in writing to the authority, at any time before the authority makes its decision on the requirement.

(4)The authority may, as respects the request for information to which the requirement relates—

(a)confirm a decision complained of, with or without such modifications as it considers appropriate;

(b)substitute for any such decision a different decision; or

(c)reach a decision, where the complaint is that no decision had been reached.

(5)Within the time allowed by subsection (1) for complying with the requirement for review, the authority must give the applicant notice in writing of what it has done under subsection (4) and a statement of its reasons for so doing.

(6)The Scottish Ministers may by regulations provide that subsections (1) and (5) and section 47(4)(b) are to have effect as if the reference in subsection (1) to the twentieth (or as the case may be the thirtieth) working day were a reference to such other working day as is specified in (or determined in accordance with) the regulations.

(7)Regulations under subsection (6) may—

(a)prescribe different days in relation to different cases; and

(b)confer a discretion on the Scottish Information Commissioner.

(8)Subsection (1) does not oblige a Scottish public authority to comply with a requirement for review if—

(a)the requirement is vexatious; or

(b)the request for information to which the requirement for review relates was one with which, by virtue of section 14, the authority was not obliged to comply.

(9)Where the authority considers that paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (8) applies, it must give the applicant who made the requirement for review notice in writing, within the time allowed by subsection (1) for complying with that requirement, that it so claims.

(10)A notice under subsection (5) or (9) must contain particulars about the rights of application to the Commissioner and of appeal conferred by sections 47(1) and 56.

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