Advice given to Scottish Government regarding weddings: FOI release

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

Information requested

Any clinical advice received by the SG (either internally or externally) that relates to the decision to include children of all ages in the limits for weddings but not other indoor settings. I would also like copies of any risk assessments or other policy documentation produced or held by the SG which consider or discuss the reasons for this inconsistency and the impact on breastfeeding mothers.


Attached is a copy of some of the information requested. 

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal data relating to third parties) applies to some of the information you have requested because it consists of the names of some Scottish Government officials and other contact details and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in 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.

An exemption under section 36(1) of FOISA (confidentiality in legal proceedings) applies to some of the information requested because it is legal advice and disclosure 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.

Some of the information you have requested about the Scottish Government's policy is available from the Scottish Parliament website and the website.

On 5 November 2020, the First Minister answered a question on the rationale for the inclusion of children in the total number of permitted attendees at a wedding: Official Report - Parliamentary Business : Scottish Parliament. The Minister for Community Safety answered a written Parliamentary Question on 19 January 2021: Written question and answer: S5W-34232 | Scottish Parliament Website.

The Scottish Government has published relevant records of the impact assessments carried out in respect of public health restrictions over the course of the pandemic, including records relating to the introduction of and changes to the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 and the Strategic Framework. These impact assessments refer to evidence which has been relevant to decisions made on weddings. I refer you to the:

  • Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) (at page 60-71) and Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) (at page 3-23) from November 2020
  • EQIA (page 5-16 with specific reference at the protected characteristic of pregnancy and maternity) and BRIA (page 2-14) from January 2021
  • EQIA (at page 69-89) and BRIA (page 52-79) from April 2021

The Scottish Government website contains information on our approach and strategy: Coronavirus in Scotland. The Scottish Government considers a wide range of evidence when making assessments to inform decisions on restrictions. Details of impacts from economic, general wellbeing, mental health and anxiety and other non-Covid related health harms can be found in the four harms dashboard which is updated weekly and can be found at

Further information about the Scottish Government’s decision-making framework can be found in the paper published on 11 December 2020: Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making - assessing the four harms - ( This paper provides an overview of key analysis and evidence (and links to more detailed evidence) in support of decisions on how best to limit the effects of COVID-19. In this document, we describe how the four harms approach works in practice and present evidence under each of the four harms to illustrate how we used the four harms to make decisions about levels, activities and restrictions.

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

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

FOI202100219009 - Information released


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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