Former First Minister inquiry motion for the recovery of documents: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. Any mentions of the motion for the Commission and Diligence for the recovery of documents (or any shorthand variations used by the Scottish Government) regarding the Judicial Review in the case of Alex Salmond against the Scottish Government in Scottish Government correspondence (including emails, attachments, typed or handwritten notes, letters, notes/records of phone calls, minutes of meetings, briefings or otherwise).

Please limit the date to 2 November 2018 and 14 December 2018’. *

2. Any discussions of this motion at Scottish Government Cabinet for the dates between 2 November 2018 and 14 December 2018’. 

*you subsequently confirmed that you intended your request to cover the period between 2 November 2018 and 14 December 2018.


In terms of part one of your request, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because an exemption under section 36(1) of FOISA (confidentiality in legal proceedings) applies to the information you have requested, because disclosure would breach legal professional privilege.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'; 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 private or public organisation.

In relation to the second part of your request, to reiterate above, our aim is to provide information whenever possible, however in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. This is because having conducted appropriate and proportionate searches for the information you have requested, the Scottish Government holds no recorded information within the scope of your request.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

About FOI

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


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top