Stephen Kosmin and Raphael Hogarth in FOIA appeal about polling on attitudes to the Union


On 26 September 2023, the Upper Tribunal heard the Cabinet Office’s appeal in Cabinet Office v Information Commissioner and Tommy Sheppard MP. The appeal concerns a request under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) 2000 by Tommy Sheppard MP, the Scottish National Party’s Spokesperson for Scotland, for information on polling on attitudes to the Union.

The First-tier Tribunal decided that the requested information must be disclosed. The Cabinet Office appealed on the ground that the Tribunal erred in finding that the ‘government policy’ exemption, s.35(1)(a) FOIA, was not engaged. Mr Sheppard MP resisted the appeal, contending that the Tribunal made no error of law, and that the public interest in any event requires disclosure. Judgment is awaited.

The Upper Tribunal hearing was reported on the front page of The National. The litigation has also received coverage in The Herald.

Stephen Kosmin acts for the Cabinet Office, instructed by the Government Legal Department.

Raphael Hogarth acts as sole counsel for Tommy Sheppard MP, instructed by Bindmans.