The Apparatus of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine failed to provide information about the assistants of Members of the Parliament (MPs) of Ukraine to the journalist Iryna Solomko, whose interests Media Law Institute represented in the court. The court partially settled the plaintiff’s claim: in particular, the Court found that the refusal of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine violates the Law of Ukraine On Access to Public Information since the text did not clarify the appeal procedure as it is stated in the Law. However, the failure to provide certain information about the assistants of the MPs, the court recognized legitimate, since the part of the requested information the Apparatus of the Verkhovna Rada does not possess and the other part of the information is confidential. The Court of Appeal also dismissed the claim – for the same reasons as the Court of the first authority. Media Law Institute brought the writ of appeal.
The Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine considered the appeal only at the end of November 2014; however, it acknowledged that the courts of previous authorities inadequately set all circumstances relevant to the proper resolution of the case. Therefore, the decisions of the lower courts were abolished and the case was referred anew to the court of the first authority.
Herewith, the Supreme Administrative Court drew attention to the fact that the information about the assistants of the MPs, in particular the one assigned to the human resource service of the Apparatus of the Verkhovna Rada is to be in a possession of the defendant. Furthermore, the courts did not establish whether the access restraints to information complies with the “three-part test” and whether the requested information can be considered confidential if, according to the legislation, the access to information about the disposal of budgetary funds (used to pay wages to the assistants of the MPS who are civil servants) cannot be restricted.
Clarification of these issues should be made by the District Administrative Court of Ukraine, which shall start judicial proceedings anew.
The original article (in Ukrainian) and the provided documents can be found here.