Country

Croatia

Croatia

Name of law : Right of Access to Information Act
First adopted : 2003
Last modified : 20 July 2015
RTI Rating last updated : 20 August 2015

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 5
Scope 30 30
Requesting procedures 30 22
Exceptions 30 26
Appeals 30 29
Sanctions 8 5
Promotional measures 16 9
TOTAL 150 126

Introduction:
The changes / amendments: The Law on Amendments to the Right of Access to Information Act (Official Gazette 085/2015) See the amendments alone (in Croatian http://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2015_08_85_1649.html) and also incorporated (unofficially) into the law (in Croatian http://www.pristupinfo.hr/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ZPPI-procisceni-tekst-eng.doc).
Right of Access

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
1 The legal framework (including jurisprudence) recognises a fundamental right of access to information.Score 0 for no constitutional right to information, 1 point for a limited constitutional right, 2 points for full constitutional recognition of a public right of access to information.2 YES Article 38 Constitution: \"The right to access to information held by any public authority shall be guaranteed. Restrictions on the right to access to information must be proportionate to the nature of the need for such restriction in each individual case and necessary in a free and democratic society, as stipulated by law.\" Link to the Constitution of Croatia (English version): http://www.sabor.hr/Default.aspx?art=2405
2 The legal framework creates a specific presumption in favour of access to all information held by public authorities, subject only to limited exceptions.No=0, Partially=1, Yes=22 YES Art.6.: Information are available to any local or foreign natural person or legal entity under terms and restrictions of this Law. This is listed as one of the main principles, but this arises also from the entirety of the legal framework set by the RTI act.
3 3.1 The legal framework contains a specific statement of principles calling for a broad interpretation of the RTI law
3.2 The legal framework emphasises the benefits of the right to information?
3.1(Y/N - max 1 point)
3.2 (Y/N - max 1 point)
2 Partially Art.3.: The objective of this Law is to ensure exercising of the right of access to information, as well as the re-use of information, as granted by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, to natural persons and legal entities, through openness and publicity of actions taken by public authority bodies. Covers Indicator 3.1




Scope

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
4 Everyone (including non-citizens and legal entities) has the right to file requests for information.Score 0 point if only residents/citizens; 1 point for all natural persons; 1 point for legal persons. 2 YES Art.5. 1) \"Beneficiary of the right to access information and right to re-use information\" (hereinafter: the beneficiary) is any local or foreign natural person or legal entity.
5 The right of access applies to all material held by or on behalf of public authorities which is recorded in any format, regardless of who produced it.Score 1-3 points if limited definition of information information such as not "internal documents" or databases excluded, 4 points for all information with no exceptions.4 YES Art.5.3.: »Information« is any information held by the public authority in the form of a document, record, dossier, register or in any other form, regardless of the manner of representation (written, drawn, printed, recorded, magnetic, optical, electronic or any other record), which the public body has created alone or in cooperation with other bodies or received from other persons, and was created within the scope of competences or in regards to organization and work of the public body.
6 Requesters have a right to access both information and records/documents (i.e. a right both to ask for information and to apply for specific documents).Score 1 point for only documents, 1 point for information2 YES Art.5.3.: »Information« is any information held by the public authority in the form of a document, record, dossier, register or in any other form, regardless of the manner of representation (written, drawn, printed, recorded, magnetic, optical, electronic or any other record), which the public body has created alone or in cooperation with other bodies or received from other persons, and was created within the scope of competences or in regards to organization and work of the public body. Art 17.1.2.: Public authority bodies shall be bound to grant access to information by providing information to the beneficiary who has submitted a request in one of the following ways: by providing information directly, by providing information in writing, through giving insight into documents and making copies of the documents containing the requested information, by delivering copies of the documents containing the requested information, in other ways adequate for exercising the right of access to information.
7 The right of access applies to the executive branch with no bodies or classes of information excluded.This includes executive (cabinet) and adminsitration including all ministries, departments, local government, public schools, public health care bodies, the police, the armed forces, security services, and bodies owned or controlled by the above.Score 4 points for central government agencies covered: 1 for the head of state, 1 for ministries, 1 for other non-statutory agencies created by the ministries, 1 for state and local government if the government is unitary. If it´s a federalist system, 2 points for the non-statutory agencies. This can be determined by examining the length and thoroughness of the list, if such a schedule exists. Score 1 point for the archives. Add three points and deduct 1 for each exempted central agency (such as the armed forces, police, etc).8 YES Art.5.2. \"Public authority bodies\", for the purpose of this Law, are state authorities, other state bodies, local and regional units of government, legal entities with public competences, legal entities formed by the Republic of Croatia or local and regional units of government, legal entities performing public service, legal entities which in line with special provisions are financed partly or entirely from the state budget or budget of local and regional units of government or from public funds (taxes, contributions, etc.), as well as companies in which Republic fo Croatia and local and regional units og government have separate or joint majority ownership rights;
8 The right of access applies to the legislature, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all legislative branch at all levels of government4 YES Art.5.2. \"Public authority bodies\", for the purpose of this Law, are state authorities, other state bodies, local and regional units of government, legal entities with public competences, legal entities formed by the Republic of Croatia or local and regional units of government, legal entities performing public service, legal entities which in line with special provisions are financed partly or entirely from the state budget or budget of local and regional units of government or from public funds (taxes, contributions, etc.), as well as companies in which Republic of Croatia and local and regional units of government have separate or joint majority ownership rights; Art.5.2. has a broad scope, so the legislative branch is included.
9 The right of access applies to the judicial branch, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all judicial branch at all levels of government4 YES Art.5.2. \"Public authority bodies\", for the purpose of this Law, are state authorities, other state bodies, local and regional units of government, legal entities with public competences, legal entities formed by the Republic of Croatia or local and regional units of government, legal entities performing public service, legal entities which in line with special provisions are financed partly or entirely from the state budget or budget of local and regional units of government or from public funds (taxes, contributions, etc.), as well as companies in which Republic of Croatia and local and regional units of government have separate or joint majority ownership rights; Art.5.2. has a broad scope, so the judicial branch is included
10 The right of access applies to State-owned enterprises (commercial entities that are owned or controlled by the State). Score 1 point if some, 2 points if all2 YES Art.5.2. \"Public authority bodies\", for the purpose of this Law, are state authorities, other state bodies, local and regional units of government, legal entities with public competences, legal entities formed by the Republic of Croatia or local and regional units of government, legal entities performing public service, legal entities which in line with special provisions are financed partly or entirely from the state budget or budget of local and regional units of government or from public funds (taxes, contributions, etc.), as well as companies in which Republic of Croatia and local and regional units of government have separate or joint majority ownership rights; Art.5.2. has a broad scope: State owned companies are considered by the RTI act to fall within the definition of \"public authority bodies\" (\"as well as companies in which Republic of Croatia and local and regional units of government have separate or joint majority ownership rights\").
11 The right of access applies to other public authorities, including constitutional, statutory and oversight bodies (such as an election commission or information commission/er). Score 1 point if some bodies, 2 points if all2 YES Art.5.2. \"Public authority bodies\", for the purpose of this Law, are state authorities, other state bodies, local and regional units of government, legal entities with public competences, legal entities formed by the Republic of Croatia or local and regional units of government, legal entities performing public service, legal entities which in line with special provisions are financed partly or entirely from the state budget or budget of local and regional units of government or from public funds (taxes, contributions, etc.), as well as companies in which Republic of Croatia and local and regional units of government have separate or joint majority ownership rights; Art.5.2. has a broad scope, so these are included
12 The right of access applies to a) private bodies that perform a public function and b) private bodies that receive significant public funding. 1 point for public functions, 1 point for public funding 2 YES Art.5.2. \"Public authority bodies\", for the purpose of this Law, are state authorities, other state bodies, local and regional units of government, legal entities with public competences, legal entities formed by the Republic of Croatia or local and regional units of government, legal entities performing public service, legal entities which in line with special provisions are financed partly or entirely from the state budget or budget of local and regional units of government or from public funds (taxes, contributions, etc.), as well as companies in which Republic of Croatia and local and regional units of government have separate or joint majority ownership rights;

Requesting Procedures

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 YES Art.18.4.:The submitter of the request shall not be obliged to mention any reasons for requesting access to information, nor referring to this Law.
14 Requesters are only required to provide the details necessary for identifying and delivering the information (i.e. some form of address for delivery).Score Max 2 points and deduct if requesters are required to give any of the following: ID number, telephone number, residential address, etc.2 YES Art 18.3.: The written request contains: name and adress of the public authority to which the request shall be submitted, data relevant for recognizing the requested information, name, surname and adress of the natural person submitting the request, company name, i.e. name of the legal entity and its adress.
15 There are clear and relatively simple procedures for making requests. Requests may be submitted by any means of communication, with no requirement to use official forms or to state that the information is being requested under the access to information law.Max 2 points. Considerations include that there is no requirement to state that the request is under the RTI law, nor to use an official form, nor to identify the document being sought. 2 YES Art 18.1. and 2.: (1) The beneficiary shall exercise the right of access to information by submitting a spoken or written request to the competent body. (2) If the request has been submitted orally or over the telephone, an official note shall be drafted, and if the request has been made through electronic communication, it shall be considered a written request.
16 Public officials are required provide assistance to help requesters formulate their requests, or to contact and assist requesters where requests that have been made are vague, unduly broad or otherwise need clarification. Score 1 point for help in formulation and 1 point for clarification procedures2 YES Art.13.3.3.: Information officer: shall provide the necessary assistance to applicants, in relation to exercising of the rights specified under this Law. Art.20.2.: In case of incomplete or incomprehensible request, the public authority body shall without delay conctact the in order to make corrections within 5 days from the day of receiving the instructions to make corrections. Officer for Information in every public body is obliged to provide assistance, but he/she could can also formally ask the request to be changed or clarified.
17     Public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs, for example because they are illiterate or disabled.Score Yes=2 point, No=02 YES General Administrative Procedure Act (Art 7, Art.11) General obligation of public servants and public bodies to provide assistance.
18 Requesters are provided with a receipt or acknowledgement upon lodging a request within a reasonable timeframe, which should not exceed 5 working daysScore 1 point for receipt, 1 point for max 5 working days2 NO Not mentioned.
19 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for situations where the authority to which a request is directed does not have the requested information. This includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request where the public authority knows where the information is held.Score: 1 point for information not held, 1 for referrals or 2 for transfers2 YES Article 21.2.: If the public authority does not fold the information, but has the knowledge about which public body does, it is bound to, without delay, but no longer than 8 from receiving the request, transfer the request to that body, and notify the submitter thereof.
20 Public authorities are required to comply with requesters’ preferences regarding how they access information, subject only to clear and limited overrides (e.g. to protect a record).Score: 2 points for Yes, only 1 point if some limitations2 YES Art 17.1.2. & Art.17.2.: Public authority bodies shall be bound to grant access to information by providing information to the beneficiary who has submitted a request in one of the following ways: by providing information directly, by providing information in writing, through giving insight into documents and making copies of the documents containing the requested information, by delivering copies of the documents containing the requested information, in other ways adequate for exercising the right of access to information. (2) In the request for information, the beneficiary may indicate an adequate way of obtaining information, and if there is no such indication, the information shall be delivered in the manner of submitting the request or in the most economical manner. In the request for information, the beneficiary may indicate an adequate way of obtaining information, and if there is no such indication, the information shall be delivered in the manner of submitting the request.
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 NO Not mentioned.
22 There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).Score: 1 point for timeframes of 20 working days (or 1 month, 30 days or 4 weeks). Score 2 points for 10 working days (or 15 days, or two weeks) or less.2 YES Art.20.1.: On the basis of requests for access to information, the public authority body shall issue its decision within 15 days from the day of submitting an orderly request.
23 There are clear limits on timeline extensions (20 working days or less), including a requirement that requesters be notified and provided with the reasons for the extension.---2 YES Art.22.: (1) Deadlines for exercising the right of access to information may be prolonged by 15 days from the day when the public authority body was expected to decide on the request for access to information: 1)if the information must be sought outside of the public authority body headquarters, 2) if numerous different information are requested in a single request, 3) if this is necessary in order to ensure the accuracy and validity of the requested information, 4) if the it is bound to conduct proportionality and public interest test in accordance with the provisins of this Law. (2) The public authority body shall, without delay but no later than eight days since receiving an orderly request, notify the Submitter on any prolongation of deadlines and the reasons thereof.
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES Art.19.2.: The public authority body is entitled to request from the beneficiaries to cover the actual material expenses incurred by providing information, under Article 17 of this Law, as well as to request to cover the expenses of delivering the requested information. Upon the request submitted by the beneficiary, the public authority body is bound to deliver the calculation of expenses incurred. Filing of the request is free, but there exists a fee related to actual material costs of granting access to information, as well as delivery costs.
25 There are clear rules relating to access fees, which are set centrally, rather than being determined by individual public authorities. These include a requirement that fees be limited to the cost of reproducing and sending the information (so that inspection of documents and electronic copies are free) and a certain initial number of pages (at least 20) are provided for free. Score 1 point for fees being limited to reproduction and delivery costs and set centrally, 1 point for at least 20 pages free of charge or for fees being optional2 YES Art.19.2.: The public authority body is entitled to request from the beneficiaries to cover the actual material expenses incurred by providing information, under Article 17 of this Law, as well as to request to cover the expenses of delivering the requested information. Art.19.3.: The criteria for setting the amount of fees and the manner of covering the expenses as referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article, shall be prescribed by the Commissioner. Fee is related only to reproduction and delivery costs. Public bodies are set their own fees, but in accordance to standards set centrally by the Information Commissioner. There is no mentioning of the 20 pages being free of fees, but setting the fee is optional. (In practice, when it comes to regular/usual requests fee is charged very rarely.)
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 NO Not mentioned.
27 There are no limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies, except where a third party (which is not a public authority) holds a legally-protected copyright over the information. Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 NO Art 32. Public body can charge material costs for reuse regarding reproduction of information, based on prescribed criteria. In addition, public body can charge additional costs if the body is moslty financed by its revenue or the information requested is the one which ensures coverage of costs for the public body.


Exceptions

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
28 The standards in the RTI Law trump restrictions on information disclosure (secrecy provisions) in other legislation to the extent of any conflict.Score 4 points for a resounding "yes" and 1/2/3 points if only for some classes of information or for some exceptions. If the state secrets law is not trumped by the RTI law max score is 2 points. 4 Partially Art.16.1.:The information holder as referred to in Article 15 paragraph 2 item 1 of this Law (deals with information classified in line with act dealing with data secrecy), upon the earlier acquired consent of the Office of the National Security Council, is bound to, prior to reaching a decision, conduct the Proportionality Test and the Public Interest Test. Art.16.2. When conducting the Proportionality Test and the Public Interest Test the public authority body shall be bound to determine whether access to information may be restricted in order to protect some of the interests referred to in Article 15 paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this Law (including clasiffied information), whether granting access to requested information in each individual case would seriously damage these interests and whether the need to protect the right to restrictions prevails over the public interest. If the public interest prevails over the damage caused to protected interests, the information shall be made available. If public interest prevails, even classified documents will be made public. However, in it\'s recent decision the High Administrative Court stated that the Information Commissioner does not have the authority to declasify information, or to be more precise - to order the public authority body to make a classified information publicly available beacuse public interest in this individual case prevails. A Constitutional Appeal has been placed before the Constitutional Court, but there are no deadlines for a decision. Legal framework is adequate, but the practice of administrative courts and the Constitutional Court simply means access to information is not granted in all cases with classified documents in which public interest prevails.
29 The exceptions to the right of access are consistent with international standards. Permissible exceptions are: national security; international relations; public health and safety; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of legal wrongs; privacy; legitimate commercial and other economic interests; management of the economy; fair administration of justice and legal advice privilege; conservation of the environment; and legitimate policy making and other operations of public authorities. It is also permissible to refer requesters to information which is already publicly available, for example online or in published form.Score 10 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which either (a) falls outside of this list and/or (b) is more broadly framed10 YES Art.15.(1) The public authority bodies shall restrict access to information relating to any procedures held by the competent bodies in preliminary and investigation activities for the duration of the respective procedures. (2)Public authority bodies may restrict access to information: 1) if the information has been classified by a degree of secrecy, in accordance with the law regulating classified information; 2)if the information represents a trade or professional secret, under the law; 3) if the information represents a tax-related secret, under the law; 4) if the information is protected by the law regulating the area of the personal information protection; 5) if the information is protected by the law regulating intellectual property rights, except in the case of explicite written approval by the holder of rights; 6) if access to information has been restricted in accordance with international treaties or if the information was created in the process of closing and joining international treaties or negotiations with other states or international organizations, untill the process is finished, or if it is an information created in the area of diplomatic relations; 7) in other instances defined by laws.(3) Public authority bodies may restrict access to information in the case of reasonable doubt that disclosing of the respective information might: 1) prevent the efficient, independent and unbiased court, administrative or other legally regulated proceedings, and execution of court orders or sentences, 2) prevent the work of the bodies conducting administrative supervision, inspectional supervision, i.e. legal supervision, (4) Public authority bodies may limit access to information: 1) if information is in the process of being created within one or between more public authority bodies, and it\'s publication prior to finishing the process of creating a complete and final information, could seriously undermine the process of it\'s creation; 2) if the information is created in the coordination process and exchange of opinion within one or between more public bodies and it\'s publication might lead to wrong interpretation of the content of the information, or undermine the process of document drafting or freedom to express opinions and attitudes. Art.1.: (3) The provisions of this Law shall not apply to the parties taking part in the court, administrative and other legally based proceedings, who are granted access to information by the force of legal regulations. (4) The provisions of this Law shall not apply to information subject to confidentiality obligations, pursuant to the law regulating the security-intelligence system of the Republic of Croatia. (5) The provisions of this Law shall not apply to classified information held by international organisations or other countries, and classified information of the public authority bodies, originating or exchanged within the framework of cooperation with international organisations or other countries. 29.a. Exceptions are as follows: criminal proceedings; classified information; business secret; tax secret; personal data; intellectual property; international/trade negiotiation information; diplomatic information; could hurt court, inspection and similar proceedings; could hurt document drafting or internal decision making processes. 29.b. There are few exceptions in which the Act does not apply at all, unlike in exceptions listed above where RTI act applies fully.
30 A harm test applies to all exceptions, so that it is only where disclosure poses a risk of actual harm to a protected interest that it may be refused. Score 4 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which is not subject to the harm test 4 YES Art.16.1.: Public body authorized to deal with the request to access information lsted in article 15 paragraph 2 point 2, 3, 5, 5, 6 and 7, is obliged, prior to deciding on the request, to conduct proportionality and public interest test. Owner of information from article 15 paragraph 2 point 1, upon acquiring an opinion of the Office of the National Security Council, is obliged, before making a decision on the request to conduct proportionalty and public interest test. Art.16.2.: When conducting proportionality and public interest test the public body is obliged to determine whether access to information can be limited due to safeguarding protected interests listed in article 15 paragraph 2, 3 and 4 of this Act, whether granting access to information in any individual case would seriously hurt these interests and whether the need to protect these interests or public interest prevails. If public interest prevails in relation to harm to protected interests, information will be made available. Harm test applies to all exceptions (29.a.). However, there are situations where it RTI act is not applied at all (29.b.).
31 There is a mandatory public interest override so that information must be disclosed where this is in the overall public interest, even if this may harm a protected interest. There are ‘hard’ overrides (which apply absolutely), for example for information about human rights, corruption or crimes against humanity.Consider whether the override is subject to overarching limitations, whether it applies to only some exceptions, and whether it is mandatory.4 YES Art.16.2.: When conducting the Proportionality Test and the Public Interest Test the public authority body shall be bound to determine whether access to information may be restricted in order to protect some of the interests referred to in Article 15 paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this Law, whether granting access to requested information in each individual case would seriously damage these interests and whether the need to protect the right to restrictions prevails over the public interest. If the public interest prevails over the damage caused to protected interests, the information shall be made available.
32 Information must be released as soon as an exception ceases to apply (for example, for after a contract tender process decision has been taken). The law contains a clause stating that exceptions to protect public interests do not apply to information which is over 20 years old.Score 1 point for each2 Partially Art.15.7. Information from paragraph 2 and 3 of this article shall be made made available to the public upon the termination of reasons due to which the public authority body has imposed a restriction of access to information. Art.15.6.Information restricted due to reasons referred to in paragraph 2 item 5 of this article (intellectual property rights) shall become available to the public when so determined by person who might suffer the damage caused by disclosing the information, but no longer than 20 years from the day of generating information, unless longer period of time has been is proscribed by the law or other regulation. 20 year deadline does not apply to all information but only to information to which access was restricted due to intellectual property rights.
33 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for consulting with third parties who provided information which is the subject of a request on a confidential basis. Public authorities shall take into account any objections by third parties when considering requests for information, but third parties do not have veto power over the release of information.Score: 1 point for consultation, 1 further point if original time frames must be respected and the law allows for expedited appeals.2 NO Not mentioned.
34 There is a severability clause so that where only part of a record is covered by an exception the remainder must be disclosed. Score 1 point if yes but sometimes can be refused (eg: if deletions render meaningless the document) and 2 points if partial access must always be granted2 YES Art.15.5.: If the requested information contains data subject to restrictions from paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article, the remaining parts of information shall be made available.
35 When refusing to provide access to information, public authorities must a) state the exact legal grounds and reason(s) for the refusal and b) inform the applicant of the relevant appeals procedures.Score Y/N: 1 point for a and 1 point for b2 YES The General Administrative Procedure Act, Art.98.6. \"The instructions on the legal remedy shall inform the party whether it is possible to lodge an appeal or institute an administrative dispute against the decision, before which body, in what time limit and in which manner.\" General provisions on the content of the decision in administrative procedure.


Appeals

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
36 The law offers an internal appeal which is simple, free of charge and completed within clear timelines (20 working days or less).Score 2 points if the internal appeal fulfills these criteria, 1 point if an appeal is offered that does not fulfill this criteria, 0 for no internal appeals.2 YES Art.25.: (1) Against the Decision issued by the public authority body, the submitter may file a Complaint to the Commissioner within 15 days since the Decision has been delivered. (3)The Commissioner is bound to issue a decision on the Complaint and deliver it to the requesting party, through the first degree body, no later than 30 days since an orderly Complaint has been filed. The deadline is 30 days, which means approximately 21-23 working days.
37 Requesters have the right to lodge an (external) appeal with an independent administrative oversight body (e.g. an information commission or ombudsman). 1 for partial, 2 for yes2 YES Art.26.1.: No complaint may be filed against the Decision issued by the Commissioner, but an administrative dispute may be initiated before the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia. The High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia must issue a decision on Complaint within 90 days. The Complaint shall delay the execution of the Decision granting access to information.
38 The member(s) of the oversight body are appointed in a manner that is protected against political interference and have security of tenure so they are protected against arbitrary dismissal (procedurally/substantively) once appointed.Score: 1 point for appointment procedure, 1 point for security of tenure2 YES Art.35.2.: The Commissioner may not be impeached, taken into custody or punished for expressing opinions and taking actions within the scope of their work, unless the Commissioner has broken the law, which represents a criminal offence.Not mentioned. Art.36.: (1) The Commissioner is appointed by the Croatian Parliament for a five year mandate, including the possibility of re-appointment. (2) No later than six months since the end of the Commissioner’s mandate, i.e. no later than 30 days from the end of their duties due to other reasons, the Committee for the Constitution, Rules of Procedure and Political System of the Croatian Parliament shall announce a public invitation for the delivery of candidacies for appointment of the Commissioner. (3) The Committee for the Constitution, Rules of Procedure and Political System of the Croatian Parliament shall, upon acquiring the prior consent of the Committee on Information, Informatization and Media of the Croatian Parliament, make a proposal of at least two candidates for the Commissioner on the basis of applications collected following the public invitation and shall submit the proposal to the Croatian Parliament. (4) The Commissioner shall be independent in their work, and accountable to the Croatian Parliament. Art.38.: (1) The Croatian Parliament shall discharge the Commissioner prior to the end of his/her term in the cases as follow: upon the request of the Commissioner, in the event of the circumstances due to which the Commissioner no longer meets the requirements as referred to in Article 37 of this Law, if the Commissioner has been unable to perform his/her duties in the period longer than six months, if the Commissioner fails to perform duties in accordance with this Law. (2) The procedure of discharging the Commissioner shall be initiated by the Committee for the Constitution, Rules of Regulations and Political System of the Croatian Parliament. (3) The Commissioner shall be discharged by the Croatian Parliament, provided the prior opinion of the Committee for Information, Information and Media of the Croatian Parliament. Appointment procedure: parliamentary committee for constitution announces a public call, it seeks opinion of parliamentary committees for informing and then suggests at least two candidates to be appointed by the Croatian Parliament (simple majority). There exists a procedure for discharge of the Commissioner.
39 The oversight body reports to and has its budget approved by the parliament, or other effective mechanisms are in place to protect its financial independence.Score 1 point for reports to parliament, 1 point for budget approved by parliament2 YES Art.35.3.: Commissioner shall submit to the Croatian Parliament a report on the implementation of this Law and other reports when considered necessary. Art.36.4.: The Commissioner shall be independent in their work, and accountable to the Croatian Parliament. Art.39.7.: The funds required for the work of the Office of the Commissioner shall be provided in the state budget of the Republic of Croatia. Resources for the Commissioner\'s Office are secured within the annual state budget which is voted in the Parliament. However, funds currently alocated for the Commissioner\'s Office are not sufficient for full impplementation of the RTI Act.
40 There are prohibitions on individuals with strong political connections from being appointed to this body and requirements of professional expertise.Score 1 point for not politically connected, 1 point for professional expertise2 YES (1) In order to be appointed the Commissioner, a person must meet the following requirements: – Croatian citizenship and permanent residency in the Republic of Croatia, – completed undergraduate and graduate study programme or an integrated undergraduate and graduate university programme in legal or social sciences, – no less than 10 years of work experience in the profession, – renowned expert of recognised ethical and professional reputation and experience in the area of protection and improvement of human rights, media freedom and democratic development, – no prior convictions nor ongoing proceedings for criminal offences for which the procedure is initiated ex officio, – no political party membership. Can not be a member of a political party. Must have 10 years working experience and be a recognized expert.
41 The independent oversight body has the necessary mandate and power to perform its functions, including to review classified documents and inspect the premises of public bodies.Score 1 point for reviewing classified documents, 1 point for inspection powers2 YES Art.25.4.: In the procedure of reviewing the Complaint against the Decision on restricted information from the Article 15 paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Law, the public authority bodies shall be bound to enable the Commissioner to review the information subject to the procedure. For information referred to in Article 15 paragraph 2, item 1 of this Law, the Commissioner shall request an opinion of the Office of the National Security Council, in accordance with the law regulating classified information. Art.46.: Inspectional supervision is conducted in form of a: 1. direct inspectional supervision, through a direct insight into data and documents of the public authority body under supervision, including a review of the manner of work of the public authority body under supervision; 2. indirect inspectional supervision, through a direct insight into the submitted data and documents. Art.47.3.: The headperson of the public authority body under supervision is bound to allow for an undisturbed inspectional supervision, including the provision of work space for conducting the supervision, use of technical equipment, data and documents subject to supervision.
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 YES Art.26.1.: No complaint may be filed against the Decision issued by the Commissioner, but an administrative dispute may be initiated before the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia. The High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia must issue a decision on Complaint within 90 days. The Complaint shall delay the execution of the Decision granting access to information. Yes, even though Administrative dispute may be started before the High Adminsitrative Court.
43 In deciding an appeal, the independent oversight body has the power to order appropriate remedies for the requester, including the declassification of information. 1 for partial, 2 for fully2 Partially Art.16.1.:The information holder as referred to in Article 15 paragraph 2 item 1 of this Law (deals with information classified in line with act dealing with data secrecy), upon the earlier acquired consent of the Office of the National Security Council, is bound to, prior to reaching a decision, conduct the Proportionality Test and the Public Interest Test. Art.16.2. When conducting the Proportionality Test and the Public Interest Test the public authority body shall be bound to determine whether access to information may be restricted in order to protect some of the interests referred to in Article 15 paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this Law (including clasiffied information), whether granting access to requested information in each individual case would seriously damage these interests and whether the need to protect the right to restrictions prevails over the public interest. If the public interest prevails over the damage caused to protected interests, the information shall be made available. If public interest prevails, even classified documents will be made public. However, in it\'s recent decision the High Administrative Court stated that the Information Commissioner does not have the authority to declasify information, or to be more precise - to order the public authority body to make a classified information publicly available beacuse public interest in this individual case prevails. A Constitutional Appeal has been placed before the Constitutional Court, but there are no deadlines for a decision. Legal framework is adequate, but the practice of administrative courts and the Constitutional Court simply means access to information is not granted in all cases with classified documents in which public interest prevails.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES Art.26.1.: No complaint may be filed against the Decision issued by the Commissioner, but an administrative dispute may be initiated before the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia. The High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia must issue a decision on Complaint within 90 days. The Complaint shall delay the execution of the Decision granting access to information.
45 Appeals to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are free of charge and do not require legal assistance.1 for free, 1 for no lawyer required. 2 YES Art.19.1.: Access to information in procedures before the public authority bodies does not require paying administrative and court fees. Lawyer not required, but not explicitly mentioned in the RTI Act.
46 The grounds for appeal to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are broad (including not only refusals to provide information but also refusals to provide information in the form requested, administrative silence and other breach of timelines, charging excessive fees, etc.).Score 1 point for appealing refusals, additional points for appealing other violations.4 YES Art.25.1.: Against the Decision issued by the public authority body, the submitter may file a Complaint to the Commissioner within 15 days since the Decision has been delivered. Art.25.2.: The Complaint may also be filed if the public authority body fails to issue a Decision on the Submitter’s request within the legal deadline. The grounds for appeal are set widely, since they are not explicitly listed/proscribed. Administrative silence is listed explicitly as grounds for appeal.
47 Clear procedures, including timelines, are in place for dealing with external appeals (oversight/judicial).Score 1 point for clear procedures, 1 point for timelines. 2 YES Art.25.3.: The Commissioner is bound to issue a decision on the Complaint and deliver it to the requesting party, through the first degree body, no later than 30 days since an orderly Complaint has been filed. Art.26.1.: No complaint may be filed against the Decision issued by the Commissioner, but an administrative dispute may be initiated before the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia. The High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia must issue a decision on Complaint within 90 days. Clear deadlines for the decision of the Information Commissioner exist (30 days, but can be prolonged due to proportionality and public interest test (to 60 days) or classified information (to 90 days)) and for the ruling of the High Administrative Court (within 90 days).
48 In the appeal process (oversight/judicial/) the government bears the burden of demonstrating that it did not operate in breach of the rules.Score Y/N and award 2 points for yes. 2 YES not mentioned If the request is denied since it deals with information which are subject to restrictions of access to information in line with the law, the public body must through conducting proportionality and public interest test demonstrate that protection of privacy or other rights/interests does, in the case at hand, owerwiegh public interest and/or the right of access to specific information. If a complaint to the Commissioner is filed due to administrative silence, public body must provide evidence it decided on the request in legal deadlines.
49 The external appellate body has the power to impose appropriate structural measures on the public authority (e.g. to conduct more training or to engage in better record management)1 for partial, 2 for fully. 2 YES Art.49.: (1) After conducting the inspectional supervision, the Inspector shall draft the minutes on the identified illegal practices, irregularities and deficiencies. (2) The minutes of the inspectional supervision from the paragraph 1 of this Article (hereinafter: Minutes) must contain the following: 1) factual situation and breaches of laws and other regulations, irregularities and deficiencies in work, 2) evaluation of the situation, 3) measures for ordering a removal of any illegal practices identified, and the deadline for the execution of ordered measures, 4) proposals for the removal of identified irregularities and deficiencies in work, 5) obligation of reporting to the Inspector on the measures taken, 6) instructions on the right to file a complaint. In the minutes of the inspectional supervision Inspetor can proscribe measures to deal away with irregularities and deficiencies in the work of the public body, and designated deadline for implementation of these measures. These may include \"structural measures\" as well. (The practice of inspectional supervision is not yet established.)


Sanctions & Proteccions

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
50 Sanctions may be imposed on those who wilfully act to undermine the right to information, including through the unauthorised destruction of information.Score 1 point for sanctions for underming right, 1 point for destruction of documents 2 YES Art.61.1.: A fine for a misdemeanour in the amount ranging from 5,000.00 to 20,000.00 HRK shall be issued to the natural responsable person if he/she do not comply with decisions of the Information Commissioner listed in the Article 25 Pararaph 7 of this law, or do not comply within the deadline set by the decision of the Commissioner. Art.62.2.: A fine for a misdemeanour in the amount ranging from 5,000.00 to 50,000.00 HRK shall be issued to the natural person which damages, destroys, hides or in other way renders unavailable the document containing information, aiming to prevent exercising of the right of access to information.
51 There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).Score 1 point for either remedial action or sanctions, 2 points for both 2 YES Art.43.3.: Inspectional supervision is conducted upon the petitions received from beneficiaries of the right of access to and re-use of information, upon the proposal of the third party or ex officio. Art.62.4.: A fine for a misdemeanor in the amount ranging from 2,000.00 to 10.000,00 HRK shall be issued to the responsible person if he/she fail to deal away with illegal practices, irregularities and deficiencies specified in the Minutes within the set deadline. Information Commissioner can ex officio start inspectional supervision. In the minutes of the supervision, inspector lists action that have to be taken by the public body. If these are not undertaken within deadlines set by the inspector, financial sanctions can be issued.
52 The independent oversight body and its staff are granted legal immunity for acts undertaken in good faith in the exercise or performance of any power, duty or function under the RTI Law. Others are granted similar immunity for the good faith release of information pursuant to the RTI Law.Score 1 for oversight body, 1 for immunity for others2 Partially Art.35.2.: The information Commissioner can not be held accountable, held in custody or legally sancioned for expressed opinion and undertaken actions within the designeted scope of work, unless these constitute violations of laws which are considered to be (criminal) offences. Explicitly listed only for the Information Commissioner.
53 There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).Score 2 for strong protections, 1 for moderate protections2 NO Not mentioned.


Promotional measures

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
54 Public authorities are required to appoint dedicated officials (information officers) or units with a responsibility for ensuring that they comply with their information disclosure obligations.Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Art.13.1.: In order to ensure the access to information, the public authority is obliged to bring a decision by which it shall designate a special official person competent to resolve the issues of realization of the right on access to information (hereinafter: information officer).
55 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Art.35.3. Commissioner shall shall inform the public on exercising the beneficiary rights of access to information.
56 Public awareness-raising efforts (e.g. producing a guide for the public or introducing RTI awareness into schools) are required to be undertaken by law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not explicitly required by law.
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 Partially Art.13.3.2.: Information Officer shall improve the manner of processing, classification, safe-keeping and disclosing information contained in official documents referring to the work of public authorities. One of the general duties of the information officer is to improve the system of management of records, but no minimum standards are set and applied.
58 Public authorities are required to create and update lists or registers of the documents in their possession, and to make these public. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Obligation to produce and publish the so called \"Information catalogue\" was excluded from the RTI act.
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
60 Public authorities are required to report annually on the actions they have taken to implement their disclosure obligations. This includes statistics on requests received and how they were dealt with. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Art.14.1.: Public body authority is obliged to maintain an official record of requests, proceedings and decisions on requests for information and re-use of information, in accordance with provisions of this law.
61 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, has an obligation to present a consolidated report to the legislature on implementation of the law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Art.35.3.: Information Commissioner shall submit to the Croatian Parliament a report on the implementation of this Law and other reports when considered necessary.