Freedom of information and data protection
Freedom of information
The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 requires Scottish public authorities such as the Commission to produce and maintain a publication scheme.
We therefore have a duty to:
- Publish the classes of information we routinely make available, and
- Tell the public how to access the information, and what it might cost.
We have adopted the model publication scheme (“the Scheme”) approved by the Scottish Information Commissioner on 1 November 2018.
The purpose of this guide is to:
- Set out what information is available, and what is not available, for each class of information under the Scheme,
- Explain how to ask for information that has not been published,
- State what charges may be applied for providing information, and
- Provide contact details for enquiries, and for further help in obtaining information.
The guide is divided into the following sections:
- Classes of information that we publish,
- Finding the information,
- Exempt information,
- Charges for information,
- Information which has not been published, and
- How to contact us.
Classes of information that we publish
We publish information that we hold that falls within any of the following classes.
- Information about the Commission,
- Information about how we deliver our functions and services,
- Information about how we take decisions, and what we have decided,
- Information about what we spend, and how we spend it,
- Information about how we manage our resources (human, physical and information),
- Information about how we procure goods and services,
- Information about how we are performing, and
- Information about our commercial publications.
Finding the information
The information we publish through the Scheme is, wherever possible, available on our website. It can also be inspected at our offices at 140 Causewayside, Edinburgh
We offer alternative arrangements for people who do not want to, or cannot, access the information online or at our premises. For example, we can usually arrange to send information to you in paper copy (although there may be a charge for this).
Once information is published we will continue to make it available for the current and previous two financial years. Where information has been updated or superseded, only the current version will be available. If you would like to see previous versions, you may make a request to us for that information.
We will publish the information we hold that falls within the classes of information set out above.
If however a document contains information that is exempt under Scotland’s freedom of information laws (for example sensitive personal information or a trade secret), we will remove or redact the information before publication and explain why.
Charges for information
There is no charge for the information that is available on our website.
There is no charge for information that is provided electronically.
If you ask for a paper copy information that is available on our website, or that can be provided electronically, then it may be necessary to make a charge.
Each case is considered separately, and we would tell you the amount of the proposed charge before providing the information. For example, we may wish to charge of 10 pence per page if a large amount of photocopying is required, or if the cost of postage is high.
Information which has not been published
If the information you want is not available under the Publication Scheme, you have the right to request it from us.
The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 gives you a right of access to any information we hold, subject to certain exemptions.
For details on how to make a request for information, follow this link: Making a request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (the “2002 Act?”)
If the information is environmental information then it might be available under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 rather than the 2002 Act.
How to contact us
You can contact us for assistance in obtaining information:
Freedom of Information
Scottish Law Commission
Tel 0131 668 2131
We will also advise you how to ask for information that we do not publish, or how to complain if you are dissatisfied with any aspect of this publication scheme.
General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679). It covers the processing of personal data, including the obtaining, holding, use or disclosure of such information. It also provides for the rights of individuals to access information held about them.
Under the GDPR, we must only collect personal information which is needed for the purposes of carrying out our functions, and must not keep the information any longer than is necessary for those purposes. A person who is the subject of information must be given access to it on request.
The Scottish Law Commission needs to collect, process and hold certain personal information in connection with carrying out its functions.
The Commission has a policy on handling personal data in line with the 1998 Act. See our Data Protection Policy Statement.
The guide is divided into the following sections:
- Meanings of “personal data” and “special categories” of data,
- Data protection principles,
- Lawfulness of processing, and
- Making a subject access request.
Meanings of “personal data” and “special categories” of data
Article 4(1) of the GDPR defines “personal data” as any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.
It clarifies that an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.
Article 9 of the GDPR provides that certain ‘special categories’ of personal information may not be processed at all, unless the processing comes within one of the cases specified in that Article. These include that the data subject has given explicit consent to the processing.
The special categories include information revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership. It also covers the processing of:
(a) genetic or biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person;
(b) data concerning health; or
(c) data concerning a natural person's sex life or sexual orientation.
Data protection principles
Article 5 of the GDPR provides for the 6 principles that regulate the processing of personal information. The principles are that personal information:
(a) must be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner;
(b) must be collected for specified, explicit and lawful purposes, and must not be further processed in a manner which is incompatible with those purposes;
(c) must be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
(d) must be accurate, and where necessary, kept up to date;
(e) kept in a form which permits identification for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the information is processed; and
(f) must be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the information, using appropriate technical and organisational measures.
Lawfulness of processing
Article 6 of the GDPR sets out the processing of personal information will only be lawful if the processing falls within specified categories. These include that the:
(a) data subject has consented to the processing;
(b) processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is a party; and
(c) processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest.
Making a subject access request
The GDPR gives individuals who are the subject of personal data various rights in relation to their information, including a right of access to personal data about them.
You can request information that the Commission holds about you by making a Subject Access Request. Your request must be in writing, and should be sent to us as follows:
Scottish Law Commission
As required by the GDPR, we will respond to your request without undue delay, and in any event within one month of receipt.
Further information about your rights, and our responsibilities under the GDPR can be obtained from the office of the Information Commissioner.
Re-use of Commission information
The Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1415) came into force on 18 July 2015.
The Commission is a public body as defined in the Regulations, and so must comply with the requirements of the 2015 Regulations.
Copyright and re-use of Commission information
The Commission makes its published information available under the terms of the Open Government Licence, as produced by the National Archives.
Where the Commission holds the copyright in its published information, the information may be copied or reproduced without express permission provided that:
- It is copied or reproduced accurately,
- It is not used in a misleading context, and
- The source of the material is identified
The material we publish is usually subject to Crown copyright. You may re-use this information free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Licence.
Please note however that you will need permission from us if you want to use our logo.
Where the Commission or the Crown does not hold the copyright in information we publish, we will make this clear. You will need to obtain permission from any other copyright holder, including in respect of any third party copyright information we have identified.
Re-use and data protection
Personal data may be accessible but that does not automatically make it re-usable. It is the responsibility of the person re-using any personal data to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation.
Complaints relating to re-use of information
If you wish to make a complaint relating to re-use of the Commission’s information please write giving full details of your complaint to:
Scottish Law Commission
Your complaint will be considered carefully, and a response will be sent to you within 20 working days.
Last updated January 2019
More FOI resources
- About the Commission
- How we deliver our functions and services
- How we take decisions and what we have decided
- What we spend and how we spend it
- How we manage our human, physical and information resources
- How we procure goods and services from external providers
- How we are performing
- Our publications
- Making a request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act