Transparent administrative action is essential for democracy in Germany. Citizens must therefore have a fundamental right to access government information.
On the other hand, however, there is often the need for secrecy of official information and the protection of sensitive data such as personal data and trade and business secrets of third parties.
Many authorities are not aware of how they can efficiently and lawfully process and adjudicate the flood of requests while balancing these conflicting interests. This is because the Freedom of Information Act (IFG) as well as the Environmental Information Act (UIG) and press law are complex and subject to constant change through case law. So why should you miss out on competent support from experts?
Why our lawyers?
At Fieldfisher, we can support you in processing and adjudication as well as in court through all instances. Because the access to information experts at our law firm know your (often political) concerns and the work from public authorities - not least from their own experience. We know what is important from the point of view of the authorities so that satisfactory decisions can be made within the permissible legal framework.Our support is a great opportunity for you! We can help you in various areas of the procedure, for example
- Checking the application for clarity and admissibility
- Checking the requested information for grounds for exclusion and need for confidentiality
- Drafting initial decisions and notices of objection
- Drafting legal pleadings
- Structuring the entire procedure in the case of a multitude of information requests
- Development of strategies
Our lawyers have accompanied numerous access to information proceedings - from the examination of the application to the Federal Administrative Court. We are therefore familiar with the requirements of the authorities as well as the judicial standards for the decision of such applications. In addition, we ourselves have helped to shape the case law in many proceedings and know which course of action makes sense.
Our advisory approach includes
- Training your staff on the subject of information access requests
- Identification of suitable procedures in general and in individual cases
- Support during the extrajudicial decision-making process
- Project advice on the decision-making process
From a legal point of view, the field of consultation includes in particular
- the Freedom of Information Act (IFG) at federal and state level
- the Environmental Information Act (UIG) at federal and state level
- press law
- administrative law and administrative procedural law