March 18, 2013 Media Law Institute has received the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court in the case that was brought to court by the Institute lawyer Olga Sushko against the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. This decision upheld the right of citizens to receive on request manning tables of structural units of the Ministry.
The case was started back in 2011. July 4, 2011, Ms. Sushko filed to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine requests asking them to give copies of the manning tables of its two divisions: Department of International Law and Cooperation, and, separately, the Office of the European Integration Department.
The Ministry of Justice refused to provide these documents, arguing that they contain confidential information about employees, such as information about the size of salaries. Considering this refusal unlawful and referring to the provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On access to public information,” Olga Sushko appealed this refusal to the court.
The trial court satisfied the claim in the case: admitted refusal to provide information illegal and ordered the authority to provide documents to the claimant. However, the Ministry appealed against this judgment to the Court of Appeal. Kyiv Appeal Administrative Court of 1 November 2012 endorsed the views of the plaintiff and the trial court. However, the Ministry of Justice continued to challenge decisions and appealed in cassation to the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine.
The court of cassation instance concluded that the decisions of the trial court and the court of appeals was lawful and reasonable, and therefore did not satisfy the appeal. The decision of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine said: “Analyzing the above rules of applicable laws and establishing the factual circumstances of the case, the courts and appellate courts have reached a reasonable conclusion to meet the claim, since financing of wages of employees of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine is exercised at the expense of budget funds, manning tables do not provide an indication of personal data of persons who occupy similar positions on these manning tables, and therefore are not to be considered confidential or classified. “
In this way, the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine passed a decision in favor of the claimant. Shortly, the Ministry of Justice provided copies of the requested manning tables to Ms. Sushko.