FOI Litigation in Bulgaria

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FOI Litigation in Bulgaria

  1. 1. FOI Litigation in Bulgaria W WW.AIP-BG.ORG Access to Information Programme Alexander Kashumov , Head of the legal team AIP
  2. 2. Criteria for Free Legal Help in Court Cases <ul><li>Provisions to be challenged; </li></ul><ul><li>Public interest in information; </li></ul><ul><li>Necessity for legal aid. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Forms of Free Legal Help in Court Cases <ul><li>Counseling; </li></ul><ul><li>Preparing the application and submissions; </li></ul><ul><li>Representation in the court; </li></ul><ul><li>Non- legal activities: monitoring of cases, media campaigning. </li></ul>
  4. 4. FOI Court Cases <ul><li>Assisted by AIP : more than 90; </li></ul><ul><li>In the Supreme Administrative Court: about 130; </li></ul><ul><li>Monitored – 18. </li></ul>
  5. 5. FOI cases 2004 - 2005 W WW.AIP-BG.ORG
  6. 6. Requests <ul><li>Related to : </li></ul><ul><li>contracts between the gov’ and companies; </li></ul><ul><li>State audit reports; </li></ul><ul><li>Documents classified before 1989; </li></ul><ul><li>Data of public officials or civil servants: property, expenses etc.; </li></ul><ul><li>Public services (e.g. health care); </li></ul><ul><li>Reports on/ doc’ exposing wrongdoings; </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental matters (incl. PHARE, ISPA, EIB etc.). </li></ul>
  7. 7. Media coverage of FOI litigation Jan – May 2005 <ul><li>45 Radio and TV shows </li></ul><ul><li>27 Articles in newspapers </li></ul>
  8. 8. Positive Effects of Litigation <ul><li>It is part of the AI campaigning (civic education) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FOI litigation becomes fashionable (journalists and MPs readily sue the Gov’) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Citizens inspired to refer to court alone </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Traditional fields of secrecy or privacy are challenged successfully </li></ul><ul><li>Courts give interpretation of the law and guidelines for </li></ul><ul><li>Public administration becomes interested in trainings and the court practice </li></ul>
  9. 9. Problems <ul><li>Court decisions not binding the executives, but sending the case back; </li></ul><ul><li>No execution of court decisions; </li></ul><ul><li>Bad interpretation of the law </li></ul><ul><li>Reluctance to go deeply into the three-part test examination of exemptions </li></ul>
  10. 10. Remedy for problems <ul><li>Litigation, litigation and litigation </li></ul><ul><li>Training for judges, awareness of standards </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in law (only if no other way is available). Carefully seeking to foresee the consequences. </li></ul>

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