Exercising the right to access information is provided for in the Convention regarding both the request for access to information and the appeal procedures against public authority breaches.
When is this possible?
These breaches occur, for instance, when a public authority refuses to give access to the desired environmental information to the person requesting it. It also occurs when this request is dealt with improperly or not at all.
Who can take action?
The Convention gives each person the right to have access to environmental information. This is why any person who has submitted a request for environmental information may take action if he/she is not satisfied with the way the authority has managed the request.
Where should you enquire?
The types of appeal you can make in Belgium depend on the authority that dealt with the request, i.e. one of the three Regions or the Federal State.
- In the Flemish Region:
Beroepsinstantie inzake de openbaarheid van bestuur
Diensten voor het Algemeen Regeringsbeleid
Tel (secretariaat): 02/553 57 03
Fax (secretariaat): 02/553 57 02
Voorzitter: Bruno Asscherickx
- In the Walloon Region:
Commission de recours pour le droit d’accès à l’information en matière d’environnement
Avenue Prince de Liège, 7
Secrétariat : firstname.lastname@example.org
- In the Brussels Region:
Commission d’accès aux documents administratifs
City center – Boulevard du Jardin Botanique 20
Tel: 02/800 37 34
- At Federal level:
Commission fédérale de recours pour l’accès aux informations environnementales
Rue des Colonies, 11
Tel: 02/518 20 97
Fax: 02/518 25 97
Secretary: Frankie Schram (Frankie.Schram@rrn.ibz.fgov.be)
Tel: 02/518 20 73
- Article 9.1 of the Convention
An unjustified refusal to give information:
A citizen had asked a regional authority for access to a notice it had issued in the case of a request for a permit. The person also requested access to a letter in the same file from the Ministerial cabinet concerned. However, the Minister did not grant this request owing to the internal nature of these documents. The Appeals Commission did not accept this argument. Based on the fact that, in this particular case, the documents requested were designed to impose the conduct to be followed by a civil servant in relation to the request for the said permit, these documents were regarded as an integral part of the administrative file. Therefore, they were not internal documents and the Minister was asked to give the applicant access to them.