Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-xm8r8 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-23T20:34:47.440Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

The Cost Exemption in the Freedom of Information Regimes of the United Kingdom and Scotland: a Comparative Analysis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 September 2015

Abstract

In this tenth anniversary year since freedom of information came into force north and south of the border, the authors, Calum Liddle and David McMenemy, undertake an in-depth comparative evaluation of the parallel cost exemptions found in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. Does Scottish FOI indeed afford a more generous disclosure entitlement? And are applicants, in turn, employing comparatively weaker rights when requesting information from analogous English and Welsh authorities? A statutory analysis of the home nation provisions is complemented by case law and a nod to contemporaneous events.

Type
Current Issues
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2015. Published by British and Irish Association of Law Librarians 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Footnotes

1 Stacey, K. and Pickard, J. (21 June 2015) ‘Gove plans freedom of information crackdown’. Financial Times. Available at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3e10b852-15d2-11e5-a58d-00144feabdc0.html

2 The Scottish Government is currently consulting on extending coverage of FOISA to contractors who run privately-managed prisons; providers of secure accommodation for children; grant-aided schools; and independent special schools. See: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/freedom-of-information/foi-consultation/

3 FOIA 2000, sch 1; and FOISA 2002, sch 1.

4 Statement from the Isle of Man Deputy Data Protection Supervisor, namely, Nicola Whiting (personal email correspondence 30 April 2015).

5 This article provides no further analysis or commentary concerning the Isle of Man FOI regime.

6 Freedom of Information Fees for Required Disclosure (Scotland) Regulations 2004, reg 4(2).

7 Ibid, reg 4(3).

8 Ibid, reg 3(2)(b).

9 Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, reg 3(2) and 3(3).

10 Ibid, reg 7(5).

11 Scottish Decision Notice 211/2012, para 34.

12 Objective is the Scottish Government's electronic records and document management system.

13 Scottish Decision Notice 055/2013, para 65.

14 Scottish Decision Notice 211/2012, para 34.

15 Freedom of Information (Fees for Required Disclosure) (Scotland) Regulations 2004, reg 3(1). Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, reg 3(2) and 3(3).

16 FOISA 2002, s. 1(1).

17 Ibid, reg 3(2)(a).

18 Ibid, reg 3(1).

19 FOIA 2000, s 1(1)(a).

20 FOIA 2000, s 1(1)(b).

21 Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, 4(3).

22 Such an exercise falls outside the scope of this paper.

23 E.g. UK Decision Notice FS50559600, para 5.

24 E.g. Scottish Decision Notice 105/2012.

25 Scottish Decision Notice 117/2007, para 30.

26 Ibid.

27 Information Commissioner's Office, Fees that may be charged when the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit, p 4, available at: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1635/fees_cost_of_compliance_exceeds_appropriate_limit.pdf

28 Scottish Decision Notice 211/2012, para 32.

29 Reg. 4(3).

30 Para 31.

31 Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner, (2015) Fees and Excessive Cost of Compliance (St Andrews, OSIC), p 5, para 25.

32 Scottish Decision Notice 042/2013, para 65.

33 Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner (2015) Fees and Excessive Cost of Compliance (St Andrews, OSIC), p 6.

34 Scottish Decision Notice 134/2012, para 14.

35 UK Decision Notice FS50508195, para 16.

36 Scottish Decision Notice 108/2012, para 19.

37 Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner (2015) Fees and Excessive Cost of Compliance (St Andrews, OSIC), p 4, para 17.

38 Reg 6(2).

39 FOISA 2002, s 11.

40 UK Decision Notice FS50388585, para 18.

41 FOIA 2000, s 9(1); and FOISA 2002, 9(1).

42 FOIA 2000, s 9(2); and FOISA 2002, s 9(3).

43 FOISA 2002, s 9(5)(b); and FOIA 2000, s 9(3)(c).

44 Dunion, K. (2011) Freedom of Information in Scotland in Practice (Dundee, DUP), p 38.

45 Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner, Fees and Excessive Cost of Compliance (St Andrews, OSIC, 2015), p 6, para 30.

46 Coppel, P. (2010) Information Rights: Law and Practice. 3rd ed. (Oxford: Hart Publishing), p 394.

47 Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, reg 6(2); and, Information Commissioner's Office, Fees that may be charged when the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit, p 3, available at: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1635/fees_cost_of_compliance_exceeds_appropriate_limit.pdf

48 Ibid, reg 6(3).

49 Freedom of Information (Fees for Required Disclosure) (Scotland) Regulations 2004, reg 3(2)(a)(i).

50 Scottish Decision Notice 040/2015, para 22.

51 Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner (2015) Fees and Excessive Cost of Compliance (St Andrews, OSIC), p 4, para 17.

52 FOISA 2002, s 9(5)(b); and FOIA 2000, s 9(3)(c).

53 Fitzpatrick, J. ‘The Scottish Government Address’. Holyrood Conferences: ‘Freedom of Information: 10 Years of FOISA’, Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, 11 December 2014. See: http://foi.holyrood.com/

54 Graham, C. ‘Address from the UK Information Commissioner’. Holyrood Conferences: ‘Freedom of Information: 10 Years of FOISA’, Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, 11 December 2014. See: https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/news-and-blogs/2014/12/christopher-graham-speaks-about-foi-and-scotland/

55 Stacey, K. and Pickard, J. (21 June 2015) ‘Gove plans freedom of information crackdown’. Financial Times. Available at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3e10b852-15d2-11e5-a58d-00144feabdc0.html

56 Ministry of Justice (2012) Government Response to the Justice Committee's Report: Post-legislative Scrutiny of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (London, The Stationary Office), p 9, para 14.

57 E.g. Pickard, J. and Stacey, K. (16 June 2015) ‘Freedom of information is Mission Impossible for Downing St emails'. Financial Times. Available at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d42d3c68-141d-11e5-abda-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=uk#axzz3dKTlPOkg