National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Primary Information Legislation

Primary Information Legislation

Legislation falls into two categories – primary and secondary legislation. Primary legislation comprises Acts of Parliament. Acts often make provision for related, but more detailed, regulations to be issued by means of statutory instruments. These statutory instruments are known as secondary legislation. In Scotland, the same relationship exists between Acts of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Statutory Instruments. This page deals with primary information legislation. We also have a page with secondary information legislation.

The full text of all the statutory instruments and Scottish statutory instruments mentioned below can be found on the Office of Public Sector Information website.

Data Protection Legislation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 are the new laws for data protection in the UK. They oblige organisations to provide a reasonable degree of confidentiality for information about people and to respect their privacy. The laws provide for the processing of personal data for archiving purposes in the public interest subject to appropriate safeguards. Our archives and data protection page explains more about how data protection law applies to personal information in archival records. You can find out more about how NRS complies with data protection law in the data protection section of this website.

Human Rights Act 1998

This Act incorporates into UK law rights and freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. Some of these rights can have a bearing on what records are created and kept, and on access to information.

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 which came into force on 1 January 2005 introduced a general statutory right of access to information held by Scottish public authorities. Subject to certain conditions and exemptions, any person who makes a request for information is entitled to receive it. The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 introduced similar provisions for environmental information and the INSPIRE (Scotland) Regulations 2009 for spacial datasets. The Scottish Information Commissioner is responsible for enforcing and promoting all of these laws. You can find out more about how NRS complies with this legislation and how you can use your rights to access the information we hold on our freedom of information pages.