A big test of this could be whether they will be required to publish the legal advice they would have to seek if they introduce an indyref2 bill at Holyrood. Nevertheless, critics have called on the government to issue advice on skills, provided they exist. Mr. Fitzhenry continued: “While the Ministers expressed concerns that the disclosure of legal advice in this case would make future legal advice more prudent or less effective, the Commissioner agrees with the applicant`s argument that the Ministers` own decision to disclose legal advice in the context of the Alex Salmond case has already created such an environment.” The newspaper argued that in recent months the government has abandoned the tradition of keeping legal advice private and published several pages of advice regarding the Alex Salmond harassment scandal. Ministers believe they have the power to test the issue of the 2014 independence referendum and can do preparatory work before a vote. The council says the government believes it has the right to test the 2014 referendum issue before a so-called “trigger” bill, with former constitutional secretary Michael Russell doing so in 2020. Statement by the Scottish Government on Decision 048/2022 on the publication of legal opinions in 2020 on the second independence referendum. The Council also argues that the precedent of asking the Electoral Commission to test the 2014 issue before the Article 30 ordinance on the first referendum, which was not yet law, allowed the government to do the same in 2020. The Convention is also reflected in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, section 36 of which exempts such information from disclosure to the extent that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in maintaining the exemption. As regards the applicability of this section of freedom of information legislation, the Commissioner has taken a different view from that of the Scottish Government. Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, accused the government of being “involved” and “mocking freedom of information legislation” by failing to publish relevant advice. The Scottish Information Commissioner has ordered the publication of some details and the Government has published them today.
M. Fitzhenry also said the government had already decided to disclose legal advice regarding sexual harassment complaints against former Prime Minister Alex Salmond. However, it should be emphasised that the Scottish Government`s publication of the material in this case does not constitute a precedent for its position on the disclosure of other information covered by professional secrecy, including in response to another freedom of information request. Nor does the Information Commissioner`s decision set a binding precedent. The Government will therefore continue to apply the relevant exemptions in accordance with the public interest assessment under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and will comply with the Scottish Ministerial Code in relation to legal advice, including referendum documents. The Government also reserves the right to challenge future decisions of the Information Commissioner in the Court of Session if it deems it appropriate in the circumstances. The document states: “[The Legal Service] stresses that there is a legal basis for ministers to ask the Commission to carry out tests of questions.” It has now set June 10 as the deadline to publish parts of the country`s Information Commissioner`s recommendation. A spokesman said: “There is a long-standing convention backed by the UK and Scottish governments that the government does not disclose legal advice, including whether or not judicial authorities have given advice on an issue, except in exceptional circumstances. I have received Decision 048/2022 from the Scottish Information Commissioner regarding your Freedom of Information request (202100164143) for “any legal advice to ministers or officials on a second independence referendum in 2020”. As you know, the Commissioner noted that we had the right not to disclose some of the information that was the subject of your request under subsection 36(1) (Legal Notice), but that this exemption did not apply to all previously withheld information. I now attach a copy of the information we must disclose in order to comply with Decision 048/2022.