Freedom of information in the United Kingdom

Freedom Of Information In The United Kingdom

Freedom of information in the United Kingdom

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Freedom of information legislation in the United Kingdom is controlled by two Acts of the United Kingdom and Scottish Parliaments respectively, which both came into force on 1 January 2005.

Certain information can only be obtained under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

As a large number of public bodies in Scotland (for example, educational bodies) are controlled by the Scottish Parliament, the 2000 Act would not apply to them, and thus a second Act of the Scottish Parliament was required. It should, however, be noted that the scope of the two Acts is effectively identical - the types of public bodies covered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are also covered in Scotland - and the requirements are almost identical, though the Scottish Act has slightly stronger phrasing in favour of disclosing information.

The 2000 Act does not extend to public bodies in the overseas territories or crown dependencies. Some of these have contemplated implementing their own legislation, though none is currently in force.


In 1977, a draft Freedom of Information and Privacy Bill was circulated; this was shorter and simpler than the later Acts, and also included privacy legislation. Later versions were occasionally suggested by opposition parties, and it became a manifesto commitment for the Labour Party at the 1997......
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