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Challenging a decision in Scotland

If you have not received all the information you asked for from a Scottish public authority, and you are not happy with the decision, you can ask them to review their decision. The same applies if you have not heard back from them at all.

The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 give you 40 days from the date you received the decision (or should have received it) to write to the authority and ask for a review. You can provide supporting evidence if you have any.

The authority has 20 days to review your case and let you know the outcome. If they decide that they should give you more of the information you asked for than they did first time round, they have to send you the extra information at the same time.

Right of appeal

If you are still not satisfied with the public authority's response, or if the authority fails to respond at all, you have a right of appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner. If you want to appeal, you should do so in writing, within 6 months of the date you received the authority's review decision, or should have received it.

The Scottish Information Commissioner must give the public authority concerned the opportunity to justify its decision, and can try to bring about a settlement between you and the public authority about what information to release. If no settlement is reached, a decision must be made within 4 months of the appeal being lodged, unless the case is particularly complex.

If you are not happy with the Scottish Information Commissioner's decision, you can appeal to the Court of Session, but only on a point of law. Remember that going to court can be expensive and may not bring about the outcome you want.

Legislation

Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

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