- 26 Sep 2018
Date received: 23 August 2018
Date responded: 20 September 2018
I would like to request that the government release whatever information it holds on this matter, including (but not limited to):
- Communication from SOLAR relating to withdrawal from the SNSA
- The full legal advice if held
An exemption under section 36(1) of FOISA (confidentiality in legal proceedings) applies to all of the information requested in your request for “the full legal advice if held” because the information concerned either is legal advice or is intrinsically linked to the process of the provision of legal advice in the context of theconfidential relationship between lawyer and client. Accordingly, disclosure of the content of the legal advice would breach legal professional privilege.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open and transparent government, and to inform public debate. However, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between legal advisers and clients, to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence, like any other public or private organisation. The release of such information is likely to be appropriate only in highly compelling cases. This has been recognised by both the Scottish Information Commissioner and the courts.
An exemption(s) under section(s) s 38(1) (b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles set out in article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House