Cost of Draft Referendum Bill to the Supreme Court: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

Please could I request, under Freedom of Information laws, the costs relating to the Scottish Government’s reference of the Draft Referendum Bill to the Supreme Court.

If you can provide the total cost for the reference, as well as any breakdown you are able to provide (such as lawyers fees, staff cost, etc).


Some of the information you have requested is available from the Scottish Government website. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. However, in the interests of being helpful, we have provided links to the relevant material below:

Independence referendum Supreme Court referral: legal costs - (

The spending on the Lord Advocate’s reference to the Supreme Court as published on 22 September 2022 was on external legal fees. An additional £350 has been spent on Supreme Court filing fees.

As set out in our responses to PQ S6W-09691 (available at S6W-09691 | Scottish Parliament Website) and PQ S6W-11576, the Scottish Government intends to proactively publish information about the costs of the litigation and will be publishing updated costs of the reference, including a breakdown of them, in December. Accordingly, an exemption under Section 27 (information intended for future publication) applies to some of the information you have requested. This exemption allows public authorities to refuse to disclose information if they already plan to publish it within the next 12 weeks. The reasons why this exemption applies are set out in Annex B.

This is a formal notice under Section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. I am unable to provide you with a figure for staff costs for any work conducted by Scottish Government civil servants in connection with an independence referendum. This is because in line with usual practice, details of individual tasks carried out by civil servants, including the number of hours spent on them, are not routinely recorded because there is no business need to do this.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

Annex B - 202200331719


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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