The Scottish Information Commissioner - It's Public Knowledge
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Padlock IconFOI Law in Scotland

There are several laws dealing with access to information, which apply in Scotland.  The Scottish Information Commissioner is responsible for enforcing and promoting three of these.

The Scottish Laws

  • The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 is an Act of the Scottish Parliament which gives everyone the right to ask for any information held by a Scottish public authority.
  • The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs) come from a European Directive on access to environmental information. The EIRs give everyone the right to ask for environmental information held by a Scottish public authority (and some other bodies). As it's not always easy to know which law applies to information we publish a quick guide at Which Law Applies 
  • The INSPIRE (Scotland) Regulations 2009 also come from a European Directive, and create a right to discover and view spatial datasets (e.g. map data) held by Scottish public authorities.


The UK Laws

Some of the UK Acts also apply in Scotland. The UK Information Commissioner is responsible for enforcing this legislation.

  • The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) - the UK equivalent of FOISA, this Act applies to UK-wide public authorities, some of which operate in Scotland e.g. the BBC, the Ministry of Defence.
  • The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) - this Act, which governs access to personal information (i.e. information about yourself and others), applies to the whole of the UK - including Scotland.

If you need help accessing personal information or information from a UK public authority, you should contact The UK Information Commissioner - helpline 0303 123 1113 (9am to 5pm Monday to  Friday) or email

More help

There is lots of helpful advice about FOI law (and how it works in practice) in the Your Rights section.

We also publish extensive guidance on key concepts and exemptions in the Resources and guidance section.

If you still can't find what you're looking for here, please contact us. We are pleased to provide advice about Scottish freedom of information laws by phone, letter or email.

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