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Scotland Act 1998

Section B13: Access to information
Purpose and Effect

This Section reserves public access to information held by public bodies subject to certain exceptions. By so doing, it clarifies the extent to which the Scottish Parliament can legislate about public access to information held by public bodies (what is commonly referred to as “freedom of information”).  It was added by Article 5 of the Scotland Act 1998 (Modifications of Schedules 4 and 5) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1749).

Details of Provisions

This Section reserves public access to information held by public bodies or holders of public offices (including government departments and persons acting on behalf of the Crown).

There is excepted from that reservation information held by the Parliament, any part of the Scottish Administration, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body and any Scottish public authority with mixed functions or no reserved functions. However, information which has been supplied by a Minister of the Crown or government department and which is held by any of those bodies in confidence continues to be reserved. Subject to that qualification, however, the Scottish Parliament can legislate about information held by any of those bodies.

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Text created by the government 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 Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

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