Friday, May 4, 2012

Netherlands & Van Der Wal v. Commission case brief

Netherlands & Van Der Wal v. Commission
FACTS -Lawyer requested copies of commission replies to questions received from national courts.  Commission denied pleading protection to public interest in confidentiality.  
ANALYSIS -Decision 94/90 provides for the widest public access possible.  Any exception to access must be interpreted and applied strictly.
-If court is unsure whether or not to disclose, should consult national court and refuse access only if that court objects to disclosure of the documents.
-Some documents will be confidential, some will not be. RULES
Transparency and Access to Documents
-Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen.
Limitations: access to regulation subject to a “harm test”
→ Threat of serious harm to a public interest?  If not, anything in the institutions possession is available.
-There should be some protection for legal advice, however (a real frank discussion of legal ideas).
-Court can invalidate a council decision to not give information if the council does not give reasons.

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