(William Alexander's Application and David Elstone & Martin Williams' Applications)
The Court of Session has refused both appeals in this anticipated judgement. The Scottish Ministers brought the appeal as, under a previous ruling by the Scottish Information Commissioner, they had been ordered to release information pertaining to the non-commencement of certain provisions of an Act of Parliament.
In the appeal, the Ministers argued that information could fall within the terms of the exemption of section 30 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 because it was part of a class of documents that fell within the public affairs exemption and they did not need to carry out a an examination of each individual document within that class in order to rely on the exemption. The Court of Session rejected this argument and concluded the application of section 30 was a two stage exercise:
1. Assess each case on the facts and circumstances of that case; and
2. Assess whether the release of the information contained within each document was capable of prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs.
The Court of Appeal did not wish to construct section 30 in such a way as to allow class exemptions to apply it approach upholds the principle that a piece of information must be viewed individually but in context when determining whether of not exemptions apply.