Country

Georgia

Georgia

Name of law : The General Administrative Code of Georgia
First adopted : 1999

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 4
Scope 30 30
Requesting procedures 30 15
Exceptions 30 18
Appeals 30 20
Sanctions 8 1
Promotional measures 16 9
TOTAL 150 97

Right of Access

Indicator

Description

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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 THE CONSTITUTION OF GEORGIA. Article 41: "1. Every citizen of Georgia shall have the right to become acquainted, in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law, with the information about him/her stored in state institutions as well as official documents existing there unless they contain state, professional or commercial secret. 2. The information existing on official papers pertaining to individual’s health, his/her finances or other private matters, shall not be accessible to any one without the consent of the individual in question except in the cases determined by law, when it is necessary for ensuring the state security or public safety, for the protection of health, rights and freedoms of others." Link to the Constitution of Georgia (In English): http://www.parliament.ge/files/68_1944_951190_CONSTIT_27_12.06.pdf
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 Article 28 (Accessibility of public information): "Public information shall be open except as provided in applicable legislation, or when openness expressly and inevitably undermines: (a) national security, but only if there is a reasonable presumption that the disclosure of such information will undermine the completion of a military, intelligence or diplomatic action that is planned or being implemented, or the physical safety of persons involved, or (b) the investigation of a criminal offense, if there is a reasonable presumption that the disclosure of such information will undermine the identification of confidential sources of law-enforcement or intelligence agencies, interfere with the prevention, detection and elimination of an offense and prosecution of an offender, or endanger life and physical safety of any person or violate a suspect’s or defendant’s right to the secrecy of investigation, except when the decree regarding their search was issued."
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 NO Not mentioned.




Scope

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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 Article 37. (Claim of public information): "Everyone may claim public information irrespective of its physical form or the condition of storage. Everyone may choose the form of receipt of public information, if there are various forms of its receipt, and gain access to the original of information. If there is the danger of damaging the original, a public agency shall provide access to the original under supervision." Refers to "everyone" having the right to claim access to information.
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 Article 37. (Claim of public information): "Everyone may claim public information irrespective of its physical form or the condition of storage. Everyone may choose the form of receipt of public information, if there are various forms of its receipt, and gain access to the original of information. If there is the danger of damaging the original, a public agency shall provide access to the original under supervision."
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 Article 37. (Claim of public information): "Everyone may claim public information irrespective of its physical form or the condition of storage. [...]." Article 38. (Accessibility of the copy of public information): "A public agency shall provide access to the copy of public information. [...]." Not stated in a clear way, but can be infered by the spirit of the law. Sometimes the administrative agencies in Georgia assert that the law only gives us the right to request the information and not to ask the question.
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 Article 27. (The definition of terms): "The terms used in this Chapter have the following meanings within this Chapter: (a) “Public agency” means a state or self-government agency or institution, or the person who exercises statutory authority on behalf of a public agency pursuant to law or contract, or artificial person of Public Law or Private Law that receives funding from the State Budget. (b) “Corporate public agency” means a public agency that incorporates a governing or advisory board consisting of more than one public servant, and in which decisions are jointly made or prepared by more than one public servant." Article 38. (Accessibility of the copy of public information): "A public agency shall provide access to the copy of public information. No fees shall be charged for distributing public information, except for copying costs." The definition of Terms provided by the law distinguishes "Public Agency" from "Corporate public Agency". Then, at the time of granting access to the public information, the articles refers only to the "public agencies" and not the "Corporate Public Agencies", that are the ones that contains a governing or advisory board. The definition of public agency is broad and covers all the bodies and classes. Concerning to archives, at first are included, but If the government decides to make them private and not to fund them from the state budget, FOI law will not cover them.
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 Article 27. (The definition of terms): The terms used in this Chapter have the following meanings within this Chapter: (a) “Public agency” means a state or self-government agency or institution, or the person who exercises statutory authority on behalf of a public agency pursuant to law or contract, or artificial person of Public Law or Private Law that receives funding from the State Budget. (b) “Corporate public agency” means a public agency that incorporates a governing or advisory board consisting of more than one public servant, and in which decisions are jointly made or prepared by more than one public servant." Article 38. (Accessibility of the copy of public information): "A public agency shall provide access to the copy of public information. No fees shall be charged for distributing public information, except for copying costs." No distinction between public information: "…All public information kept by a public agency shall be entered into the public register…". Some bodies, like the Corporate Public agencies can take the decision to close a session and make it private, without justifying the closure with the exceptions of the article 28 (national security and the investigation of a criminal offense)
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 Article 28 (Accessibility of public information): "Public information shall be open except as provided in applicable legislation, or when openness expressly and inevitably undermines: [...] (b) the investigation of a criminal offense, if there is a reasonable presumption that the disclosure of such information will undermine the identification of confidential sources of law-enforcement or intelligence agencies, interfere with the prevention, detection and elimination of an offense and prosecution of an offender, or endanger life and physical safety of any person or violate a suspect’s or defendant’s right to the secrecy of investigation, except when the decree regarding their search was issued." Not stated in a clear way, but can be inferred by the spirit of the law that the right of access applies to the judicial branch.
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 Article 27. (The definition of terms): "The terms used in this Chapter have the following meanings within this Chapter: (a) “Public agency” means a state or self-government agency or institution, or the person who exercises statutory authority on behalf of a public agency pursuant to law or contract, or artificial person of Public Law or Private Law that receives funding from the State Budget." Article 36. (Ensuring the accessibility of public information): "A public agency shall designate a public servant who will be responsible for ensuring the accessibility of public information." "Public agency means a state or self-government agency or institution...or artificial person of Public Law or Private Law that receives funding from the State Budget…"; "A public agency shall provide access to the copy of public information…"
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 Article 27. (The definition of terms): "The terms used in this Chapter have the following meanings within this Chapter: (a) “Public agency” means a state or self-government agency or institution, or the person who exercises statutory authority on behalf of a public agency pursuant to law or contract, or artificial person of Public Law or Private Law that receives funding from the State Budget." "Public agency means a state or self-government agency or institution, or the person who exercises statutory authority on behalf of a public agency pursuant to law or contract…"
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 Article 27. (The definition of terms): "The terms used in this Chapter have the following meanings within this Chapter: (a) “Public agency” means a state or self-government agency or institution, or the person who exercises statutory authority on behalf of a public agency pursuant to law or contract, or artificial person of Public Law or Private Law that receives funding from the State Budget." "Public agency means a state or self-government agency or institution...or artificial person of Public Law or Private Law that receives funding from the State Budget…". The “performing of public function” is questionable, for example, in the case of “Georgian Railway,” the company, which is dealing with all the railway related issues in Georgia, is not funded by the state budget, and it's legal status is just private company. The same happens with the water, electricity etc., despite these companies deals with issues of public interest.

Requesting Procedures

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Comments
13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 NO No mention about reasons being asked or not in order to access to information.
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 Article 37. (Claim of public information): "Everyone may claim public information irrespective of its physical form or the condition of storage. […]". No mention of anything more than the necessary info to identify. Despite this, it is not necessary to fill out the official form. In practice the request can be discarded if the address is not given or there is no signature on it.
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 Partially Article 37. (Claim of public information): "Everyone may claim public information irrespective of its physical form or the condition of storage. Everyone may choose the form of receipt of public information, if there are various forms of its receipt, and gain access to the original of information. If there is the danger of damaging the original, a public agency shall provide access to the original under supervision". The requests cannot be submitted by all means of communication. The only method is a written request, no emails or fax are allowed. The law does not say it explicitly:"Everyone may choose the form of receipt of public information, if there are various forms of its receipt" but in practice there are no fax numbers or email addresses where you can send the request (1 point loss).
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 NO The law does not obligate public officials to help the requesters.
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 NO Not mentioned.
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 Partially Not specific mention about the receipt, but it can be inferred that some kind of receipt should be given in order to communicate the decision adopted. Timeframe of ten days listed in the law.
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 40 (The decision on providing or denying access to public information): "1. A public agency shall render a decision on providing or denying access to public information immediately or not later than ten days, if responding to a claim for public information requires: (a) the acquisition of information from its subdivision that operates in another area, or from another public agency, or processing of such information, (b) the acquisition and processing of separate and large documents that are not interrelated, or (c) consultation with its subdivision that operates in another area, or with another public agency, if those are interested in the decision-making on the matter. 2. A public agency shall inform the applicant about the decision, its ground, and applicable regulation." The authority, that was asked for the information, will always provide a decision about the information requested, even if it is related to a different authority.
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 Article 37. (Claim of public information): "Everyone may claim public information irrespective of its physical form or the condition of storage. Everyone may choose the form of receipt of public information, if there are various forms of its receipt, and gain access to the original of information. If there is the danger of damaging the original, a public agency shall provide access to the original under supervision". Yes, subject to reasonable limitations.
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 YES Article 40 (The decision on providing or denying access to public information): "1. A public agency shall render a decision on providing or denying access to public information immediately or not later than ten days, […]"
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 Article 40 (The decision on providing or denying access to public information): "1. A public agency shall render a decision on providing or denying access to public information immediately or not later than ten days, […]"
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 NO There is no mention about the extensions
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES Article 38. (Accessibility of the copy of public information): " A public agency shall provide access to the copy of public information. No fees shall be charged for distributing public information, except for copying 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 Partially Article 38. (Accessibility of the copy of public information): " A public agency shall provide access to the copy of public information. No fees shall be charged for distributing public information, except for copying costs." A public agency shall provide access to the copy of public information. No fees shall be charged for distributing public information, except for copiying costs. There is not 20 pages for free.
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 Not mentioned.


Exceptions

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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 NO Article 28. (Accessibility of public information): "Public information shall be open except as provided in applicable legislation, or when openness expressly and inevitably undermines: (a) national security, but only if there is a reasonable presumption that the disclosure of such information will undermine the completion of a military, intelligence or diplomatic action that is planned or being implemented, or the physical safety of persons involved, or (b) the investigation of a criminal offense, if there is a reasonable presumption that the disclosure of such information will undermine the identification of confidential sources of law-enforcement or intelligence agencies, interfere with the prev ention, detection and elimination of an offense and prosecution of an offender, or endanger life and physical safety of any person or violate a suspect’s or defendant’s right to the secrecy of investigation, except when the decree regarding their search was issued." Despite of this, RTI law does not trump other laws. The law on state secrets is older and it can be trumped but the tax code is newer and it trumps the General administrative Code aka RTI law. Tax Code introduced the trade secret. RTI law is a regular law in Georgia. Unless it has a status of the “organic law” it cannot trump any law generally.
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 Article 28. (Accessibility of public information): "Public information shall be open except as provided in applicable legislation, or when openness expressly and inevitably undermines: (a) national security, but only if there is a reasonable presumption that the disclosure of such information will undermine the completion of a military, intelligence or diplomatic action that is planned or being implemented, or the physical safety of persons involved, or (b) the investigation of a criminal offense, if there is a reasonable presumption that the disclosure of such information will undermine the identification of confidential sources of law-enforcement or intelligence agencies, interfere with the prev ention, detection and elimination of an offense and prosecution of an offender, or endanger life and physical safety of any person or violate a suspect’s or defendant’s right to the secrecy of investigation, except when the decree regarding their search was issued." "National Security" and "the investigation of a criminal offense" are the unique exceptions.
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 Article 28. (Accessibility of public information): "Public information shall be open except as provided in applicable legislation, or when openness expressly and inevitably undermines: (a) national security, but only if there is a reasonable presumption that the disclosure of such information will undermine the completion of a military, intelligence or diplomatic action that is planned or being implemented, or the physical safety of persons involved, or (b) the investigation of a criminal offense, if there is a reasonable presumption that the disclosure of such information will undermine the identification of confidential sources of law-enforcement or intelligence agencies, interfere with the prevention, detection and elimination of an offense and prosecution of an offender, or endanger life and physical safety of any person or violate a suspect’s or defendant’s right to the secrecy of investigation, except when the decree regarding their search was issued." A harm test applies to both exceptions mentioned, as follows: "only if there is a reasonable presumption that the disclosure of such information will undermine…".
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 NO No public interest override
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 YES Article 31. (The extension of the term for keeping public information classified): “The decision designating public information to be classified or extending the term for keeping public information classified, except as provided in applicable regulation, maybe rendered for the term of not more than five years. Such decision and the decision concerning the collection and processing of personal data shall be promulgated within three days after their adoption.” Article 33. (The procedure for publicizing secret information): “After classified information is declassified, any part of classified public information or protocol of the closed session of a corporate public agency that can be separated on reasonable grounds shall be publicized."
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 No procedures listed.
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 NO There is no severability clause.
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 Article 40 (The decision on providing or denying access to public information). Section 2: "A public agency shall inform the applicant about the decision, its ground, and applicable regulation." A public agency shall inform the applicantS about the decision, its ground, and applicable regulation.


Appeals

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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 Article 41. (Denying access to public information): "If access to public information was denied or the session of a corporate public agency was closed, the agency shall provide an applicant with information concerning his rights and procedures for filing a complaint within three days after the decision is rendered. The agency shall also specify those subdivisions or public agencies, which provided their suggestions regarding the decision." Georgia Law on Administrative Procedure Act, Article 2. There is not an specific mention about an appeal to a higher authority, but the law offers the possibility to fill a sort of complaint in case the providing of information is denied. On the other hand, the Administrative Procedure Act on its article 2, provides that the appeal to the Public Authority will be necessary in order to gain consideration of a court.
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 Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender, Article 13. "The Public Defender shall receive applications and complaints from Georgian citizens, foreign citizens, stateless persons, legal entities of private law, political and religious associations concerning alleged violations of any rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Georgian Constitution and by law, as well as by the international treaties and agreements to which Georgia is party and that may have resulted as a consequence of the actions or acts of State or local self-government bodies, public entities and officials." Link to the Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender (In English): http://www.ombudsman.ge/index.php?page=777&lang=1&n=7
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 Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender, Article 6. "1. The Public Defender of Georgia shall be a citizen of Georgia. 2. The Public Defender shall be appointed for a term of 5 years by a majority of all members of the Parliament of Georgia. Candidates can be nominated by the President of Georgia, parliamentary factions or a group of at least 6 parliament members who do not belong to any faction. (16.07.2009 N 1460) 3. Before the vote, the Chairperson of the Parliament shall read out the list of nominees and present to the Parliament their written consent to run for the office of the Public Defender. Each candidate shall be voted upon separately by secret ballot. 4. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes but not less than a majority of the total number of the Parliament members, shall be elected. If two or more candidates receive the requisite but equal number of votes, the final determination shall be made by the Parliament voting on these candidates together. The candidate who wins a greater number of votes but not less than a majority of all the members of the Parliament shall be appointed. In the event of a tie, there will be a runoff voting until one candidate gains a majority of votes. 5. If no candidate receives the requisite number of votes, a new vote shall be held. The date for the vote shall be set not earlier than 7 days and not later than 14 days from the first vote. Procedures for the presentation of candidates and voting shall be the same as provided for in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this Article. 6. The same candidate can only be nominated twice during one appointment cycle." Article 10 "The tenure of the Public Defender shall be subject to premature termination in the event he/she: a. loses citizenship; b. is unable to serve for four consecutive months; c. is found guilty in the final judgment of the court; d. is recognised to be lacking legal capacity, missing or deceased by the court; e. has accepted or holds a position or carries out activities incompatible with the Public Defender’s office; f. resigns; g. dies. 2. In cases referred to in paragraph 1 above, the term of office of the Public Defender shall be considered terminated from the moment any of the stipulated grounds are established. This shall be notified without delay to the Parliament. 3. In cases stipulated in sub-paragraphs (b) and (e) of paragraph 1 above, the term of office of the Public Defender shall be terminated by the decision of the Parliament adopted by a majority of all members of the Parliament." The article provides:"The Public Defender shall be appointed for a term of 5 years by a majority of all members of the Parliament of Georgia."
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 NO No mention about and independent oversight body.
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 Partially Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender, Article 4. "1. The Public Defender shall be independent in exercising functions of the office and bound only by the Constitution, international treaties and agreements of Georgia, universally recognized principles and rules of international law, the present law and other legislative acts. 2. Any influence or interference with the Public Defender’s activities is prohibited and shall be punished by law." Section 2; Article 6, Section 1. "The Public Defender of Georgia shall be a citizen of Georgia." Article 8. "1. The office of the Public Defender shall be incompatible with membership of any state or local self-government representative body, holding another public office or engaging in a remunerated activity other than scientific, educational or artistic work. The Public Defender cannot be a member of a political party and shall be restricted from any sort of political activity. Exception shall be made if the Public Defender of Georgia simultaneously holds any other office based on the requirements of law or other normative act. (21.07.2010. N3565) 2. Within one month of appointment, the Public Defender shall cease any activity incompatible with his/her status. Failure to comply with this requirement within the stipulated period shall result in the removal of the Public Defender from office and the Parliament shall appoint a new Public Defender." The article provides:"Any influence or interference with the Public Defender’s activities is prohibited and shall be punished by law". No proffesional expertise is required in order to exercise this charge (1 point loss).
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 Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender, Article 18, Section A and B; "In carrying out an examination, the Public Defender shall be entitled to: a. have unimpeded access to the premises of any state or local self-government body, enterprise, organization and institution, regardless of its organizational-legal form including military units, places of arrest, pre-trial detention facilities and other places of restriction of liberty, psychiatric institutions, institutions for elderly persons, child care institutions. (9.03.2010 N 2711 shall be enacted from 1 October 2010). b. demand and immediately or not later than within 10 days receive from state or local self-government bodies, public organizations and officials all documents, files and other material necessary for examination;". Article 20. "1. Any information containing state, commercial or other secret material required to be kept confidential by law shall be provided to the Public Defender in accordance with the relevant requirements of law. 2. The Public Defender and a member of the Special Preventive Group shall be under the obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the secret information and the information declared as confidential, as well as information on torture, or any other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of a person unless this person has explicitly expressed consent for such disclosure." Article provides:"The defender shall be entitled to...have unimpeded access to the premises of any state or local self-government body" and "demand and immediately...and receive from state or local self-government bodies, public organizations and officials all documents, files and other material necessary for examination".
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
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 NO Not mentioned.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES Article 47. (The nullification or amendment of a decision. Claim for damages): "1. A person may file a claim in a court demanding the nullification or amendment of the decision of a public agency or public servant, and claim material or non-material damages for: (a) denying access to public information, partly or completely closing the session of a corporate public agency, or designating public information to be classified, (b) the creation and processing of incorrect public information, (c) the illegal collection, processing, storage and dissemination of personal data, or illegal furnishing of personal data to another person or public agency, or (d) the infraction of other requir ements of this Code by a public agency or public servant. 2.The burden of proof shall rest with the public agency or public servant that acts as a defendant in a court." Article 48. (The request for classified information by a court): "A court may request for and review classified public information to investigate the legality of designating this information to be fully or partly classified" The lawsuit would cost approximately $60, which is excessive charge for the Georgian reality.
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 Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender, Article 16. " 1. No state fees shall be imposed on complaints and applications lodged with the Public Defender. 2. The services of the Public Defender shall be free of charge to the person concerned." and Article 17. "1. Upon receipt of an application or complaint, the Public Defender shall independently decide to proceed with or decline the examination of the case. 2. The Public Defender shall notify the applicant on the decision set out in paragraph 1 of this Article. (21.07.2010. N3565) 3. The Public Defender shall inform the complainant of the outcome of the complaint as provided by law."
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 Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender, Article 14. "1. The Public Defender shall examine applications and complaints on violations of human rights and freedoms if the applicant contests: a. a decision of the public entity; b. a breach or violation of the rights and freedoms envisaged by the Georgian legislation in the course of the court proceedings; c. a violation of the rights envisaged by the legislation for a person under arrest, detention or any other form of restriction of liberty; d. compliance of the normative acts with the second chapter of the Constitution of Georgia; e. constitutionality of the norms on referendum and elections as well as constitutionality of the elections (referendum) held or to be held on the basis of these norms. (21.07.2010. N3565)" The definition given in this article seems to be broad and to cover all the grounds for an external 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 Partially Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender, Article 13 to 15. Clear procedures, but no timelines listed (1 point loss).
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 Administrative Procedure Code of Georgia, Article 22, Section 2. At the first stage the plaintiff is obliged to prove that the denial or any other decision caused harm to his or her legitimate interests. But after the court decided to discuss the case, the burden of proof is on the public agency's side.
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 NO Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender, Article 21. "Proceeding from the findings of the examination, the Public Defender shall be authorized to: a. submit proposals, comments or recommendations on Georgian legislation or draft laws to the Parliament or any other relevant body with the aim of ensuring observance of human rights and freedoms, improving the conditions and treatment of the persons held in the places of arrest, pre-trial detention facilities or other places of restriction of liberty and convicts as well as preventing torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment ; (9.03.2010 N 2711 shall be enacted from 1 October 2010). b. make proposals and recommendations to the relevant state and local self-government bodies, public entities and officials on redressing violations of human rights and freedoms guaranteed by State and violated by their actions; c. address respective investigative bodies with a proposal requesting initiation of the preliminary investigation and/or criminal proceedings, if characteristics of a crime are revealed as a result of the case examination; d. submit to the relevant authorities proposals on disciplinary or administrative measures against employees responsible for the violation of human rights and freedoms; e) in particular cases exercise the Amicus Curiae function in Common Courts and the Constitutional Court of Georgia;(11.11.2011.N5264–IIS) f. inform the media about the outcomes of the examination carried out in respect of the violation of the human rights and freedoms; g. present the decisions taken in annual and special reports; h. appeal in writing to the President of Georgia if the means of reacting to the violation at the disposal of the Public Defender are not sufficient; i. Lodge a constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Court on the norms related to the referendum and elections as well as the elections (referendum) conducted or to be conducted on the basis of these norms, or in case when the human rights and freedoms envisaged in the chapter II of the Georgian constitution are violated in a normative act or its particular norms; j. in a special case, propose the setting up of an ad hoc parliamentary human rights investigation commission and request that the Parliament take up the matter for consideration." The public defender may suggest or propose, but not impose.


Sanctions & Proteccions

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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 NO No specific mention about the imposition of sanctions, but in the article 49, section "d", regarding the annual report that a public agency must present, there is a mention about the "number of violations of this Code by public servants and the imposition of disciplinary penalties upon officials", so there must be some kind of system of imposition of sanctions, despite it´s not specifically stablished in the law.
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 NO There is no mention about the system like this.
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 Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender, Article 5, Section 2; "2. The Public Defender shall be protected with immunity. The Public Defender may not be prosecuted, arrested or imprisoned; no body search or search of his/her home, car or office may be undertaken without the approval by the Parliament of Georgia. The inviolability of the Public Defender does not apply to the case of being caught in the act of committing an offence which must be immediately notified to the Parliament. If the Parliament refuses to grant consent, the arrested or detained Public Defender must be immediately released. The Parliament shall make the decision within 14 days after receiving the relevant communication from the Minister of Justice of Georgia. (01.11.2008 N 472)" Article 19. "1. Special Preventive Group shall be set up under the auspices of the Public Defender of Georgia to carry out functions of the National Preventive Mechanism. The Special Preventive Group shall examine the condition and treatment of persons under arrest, detention or any other form of restriction of liberty and convicts, in addition to the persons held in psychiatric institutions, institutions for elderly persons and child care institutions in order to monitor their protection from torture, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (11.11.2011. N5264-IIS) 2. A person with respective educational background, professional experience and ability to carry out functions of the National Preventive Mechanism due to his/her professional and moral qualities can be a member of the Special Preventive Group. 3. A member of the Special Preventive Group shall not be a member of a political party or shall not participate in any political activity. 4. Members of the Special Preventive Group shall act on the basis of a special authority granted by the Public Defender and shall be accountable only to the Public Defender. 5. Members of the Special Preventive Group shall be entitled not to give evidence on the fact which was disclosed to them when exercising their functions of national preventive mechanism. Members of the Special Preventive Group shall continue to enjoy this right after termination of their office. 6. Arrest, examination and seizure of the mail-telegraph correspondence or postal parcel addressed to the member of the Special Preventive Group shall be prohibited." Article provides:"The Public Defender shall be protected with immunity…". No mention about inmmunity provided for others (1 point loss).
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 There are no legal protections about this matter.


Promotional measures

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MAX score
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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 Article 36. (Ensuring the accessibility of public information): "A public agency shall designate a public servant who will be responsible for ens uring the accessibility of public information."
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 NO There is no designated body to promote FOI.
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 mentioned.
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Article 35. (Public register): "All public information kept by a public agency shall be entered into the public register. Reference to public information shall be entered into the public register within two days after its acquisition, creation, processing or publicizing, indicating its title and the date of receipt of the information, and the title or name of the natura l or artificial person, public servant, or public agency, which provided the information or to which it was sent."
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 YES Article 35. (Public register): "All public information kept by a public agency shall be entered into the public register. Reference to public information shall be entered into the public register within two days after its acquisition, creation, processing or publicizing, indicating its title and the date of receipt of the information, and the title or name of the natural or artificial person, public servant, or public agency, which provided the information or to which it was sent."
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO No mention about this kind of programmes.
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 Article 49. (Reporting) "On December 10 every year a public agency shall report to the Parliament and President of Georgia regarding: (a) the number of requests to provide or modify public information provided to the agency and the number of decisions denying the requests, (b) the number of decisions complying with or denying requests, the names of the public servants rendering those decisions and the decisions of corporate public agencies to close their sessions, (c) the public databases and the collection, processing, storage, and furnishing of personal data by public agencies, and (d) the number of violations of this Code by public servants and the imposition of disciplinary penalties upon officials."
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 Partially Organic Law of Georgia on the Public Defender, Article 21, Section G; "Proceeding from the findings of the examination, the Public Defender shall be authorized to: <...> g. present the decisions taken in annual and special reports;" Article 22. "1. Once per year, in March, the Public Defender shall submit to the Parliament a report on the human rights and freedoms situation in the country. (23.06.1999 N 2146) 2. The report of the Public Defender shall include information about those State and local self-government bodies and officials that were found to have violated human rights and freedoms and failed to act upon the Public Defender’s recommendations concerning the measures of redress. 3. The report shall provide a general assessment of the human rights and freedoms situation in the country, a summary of the findings and recommendations to address the identified problems. 4. During the spring session of the Parliament the Public Defender shall make a speech on the human rights and freedoms situation in the country described in the annual report; 5. The report of the Public Defender shall be published in the official journal of the Parliament. Publishing of a special report shall be subject to the Public Defender’s discretion." The Article Provides:"The public defender will be authorized to present the decisions taken in annual and special reports;". It´s not an obligation, only a right to do it (1 point loss).