Country

Ukraine

Ukraine

Name of law : The Law of Ukraine On Access to Public Information
First adopted : 1992
Last modified : 13 May 2013
RTI Rating last updated : 13 May 2013

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 5
Scope 30 28
Requesting procedures 30 19
Exceptions 30 25
Appeals 30 19
Sanctions 8 4
Promotional measures 16 8
TOTAL 150 108

Right of Access

Indicator

Description

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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 National Constitution Article 34 guarantees the right to information in the following terms: \"Everyone is guaranteed the right to freedom of thought and speech, and to the free expression of his or her views and beliefs. Everyone has the right to freely collect, store, use and disseminate information by oral, written or other means of his or her choice. The exercise of these rights may be restricted by law in the interests of national security, territorial indivisibility or public order, with the purpose of preventing disturbances or crimes, protecting the health of the population, the reputation or rights of other persons, preventing the publication of information received confidentially, or supporting the authority and impartiality of justice.\" \"Everyone has the right to freely collect, store, use and disseminate information by oral, written or other means of his or her choice.\" Link to constitution (English version) http://www.president.gov.ua/en/content/constitution.html
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 1. Public Information 2. Public information shall be open except for instances established by the law.
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 Article 4. Principles for Ensuring Access to Public Information 1. Access to public information according to this Law shall be carried out based on the principles of: 1) transparency and openness of the activity of subjects of public authority; 2) free obtaining and dissemination of information, except for limitations established by the law; 3) equal rights regardless of race, political, religious or other beliefs, gender, ethnic and social origin, financial standing, place of residence, language or other features.




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 12. Definition and List of Subjects 1. Subjects of relations in the area of access to public information are: 1) requesters of information – natural persons, legal persons, associations of citizens without legal person status, except for subjects of public authority; Physical persons, legal entities and associations of citizens without legal entity status are allowed to file requests.
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 1. Public Information 1. Public information shall mean information that is reflected and documented by any means and at any media and which was received or created in the process of performance by subjects of public authority of their duties envisaged in the acting legislation or which is in possession of the subjects of public authority, other administrators of public information determined by this Law. All info possessed by the authority is public - at it specifically mentions that all info regardless of the form in which it is reflected, regardless of the carriers of information. Internal documents are included in the general description of the public information that can be accessed unless a restriction was imposed based on Article 6.2 (public interest test). Therefore the internal document are included, and to be restricted in access it should be formally assigned an \"official information\" status.
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 1. Public Information 1. Public information shall mean information that is reflected and documented by any means and at any media and which was received or created in the process of performance by subjects of public authority of their duties envisaged in the acting legislation or which is in possession of the subjects of public authority, other administrators of public information determined by this Law. Both information and documents seems to be included under the scope.
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 13. Information Administrators 1. For the purposes of this Law, the information administrators shall be: 1) subjects of public authority – bodies of state power, other state bodies, bodies of local self-government, bodies of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, other subjects that perform public management functions in accordance with legislation and whose decisions are mandatory for execution; All information seems to be included under the scope. All the State authorities, including the legislature seems to be covered by this article. According to the Constitution (Article 6) there are two types of public authorities - state authorities and local self-government authorities. \"State authorities\" covers all branches of power and some special bodies which are not formally included in any of branches - prosecutors, President of Ukraine. Therefore API Law covers effectively all public authorities.
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 13. Information Administrators 1. For the purposes of this Law, the information administrators shall be: 1) subjects of public authority – bodies of state power, other state bodies, bodies of local self-government, bodies of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, other subjects that perform public management functions in accordance with legislation and whose decisions are mandatory for execution; All information seems to be included under the scope. All the State authorities, including the legislature seems to be covered by this article. According to the Constitution (Article 6) there are two types of public authorities - state authorities and local self-government authorities. \"State authorities\" covers all branches of power and some special bodies which are not formally included in any of branches - prosecutors, President of Ukraine. Therefore API Law covers effectively all public authorities.
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 13. Information Administrators 1. For the purposes of this Law, the information administrators shall be: 1) subjects of public authority – bodies of state power, other state bodies, bodies of local self-government, bodies of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, other subjects that perform public management functions in accordance with legislation and whose decisions are mandatory for execution; All the State authorities, including the Judicial branch seems to be covered by this article.
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 NO Not specifically mentioned. The Article says: \"Subjects of economic activity that dominate on the market or have special or exclusive rights, or natural monopolies – regarding information about terms of supply of goods, services, and their prices\" This provision could be interpreted as that state owned companies are included under the scope, but the information provided is limited. That´s why I´ve decided not to score any point.
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 13. 1. For the purposes of this Law, the information administrators shall be: 1) subjects of public authority – bodies of state power, other state bodies, bodies of local self-government, bodies of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, other subjects that perform public management functions in accordance with legislation and whose decisions are mandatory for execution; The article seems to cover all these bodies. Moreover, considering that the definition of \"State authorities\" covers all branches of power and some special bodies which are not formally included in any of branches, other public authorities and independent oversight bodies should be 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 Article 13. Information Administrators 1. For the purposes of this Law, the information administrators shall be: 1) subjects of public authority – bodies of state power, other state bodies, bodies of local self-government, bodies of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, other subjects that perform public management functions in accordance with legislation and whose decisions are mandatory for execution; 2) legal persons that are funded from the state, local budgets, budget of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea – regarding information about the use of budget funds; 3) persons, if they perform delegated authorities of the subjects of public authority in accordance with the law or agreement, including delivery of education, health, social, or any other state services – regarding information connected with execution of their duties;

Requesting Procedures

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13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 YES Article 19, Section 2.
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 19, Section 5 Telephone number should be provided \"if it exists\". Requester can just state that he does not have a telephone number. The Law allows to give e-mail instead of giving mailing address.
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 Article 19, Section 3 and 4 / Article 3, Section 1, Subsection 3.
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 Article 19, Section 7. Not specifically mentioned, but the article seems to cover the general assistance to the enquirer.
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 Article 19, Section 7.
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 NO Article 22, Section 3.
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 NO Not mentioned
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 Article 15, Section 3.
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 Article 20, Section 4.
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES Article 21, Section 1.
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 21, Section 2 and 3. The fees are determined individually by the public authorities, but the Government sets the maximum ceiling which can’t be exceeded (1 point granted). Only 10 pages are allowed to be printed 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 YES Article 6, Section 2; Article 8; Article 13, Section 4. Article 8.1 of the Law defines secret infromation as information access to which is restricted according to Article 6.2 of the Law. So even though there is a special Law on State Secrets, FOI Law trumps it. Article 8.2. Law: \"Procedure for access to secret information is regulated by this Law and special laws.\" Finally, according to Article 13.4. API Law: \"All administrators of information, regardless of the legal act based on which they function, when deciding on the issues of access to information must be directed (guided) by this Law\".
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 NO Articles 6, 7, 8 and 9. Didn\'t get full points because Article 6 allows information to be withheld to protect reputations, which is not a legitimate interest, as well as the rights of others, which is too broad.
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 6, Section 1, Subsection 2 and 5. The harm test applies to all the exceptions listed.
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 Article 6, Section 1, Subsection 3 and 5. The public interest override applies to all the exceptions listed.
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 Article 6, Section 4. \"Information with restricted access should be provided by the information administrator if there are no longer legal grounds for restricting access to such information which used to exist before. No clause listed (1 point reduction)
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 There is no clear procedure for consulting with thirds parties.
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 Article 6, Section 7. By reading the article, it can be understood that If a document contains information with restricted access, then information access to which is not restricted should be provided.
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 22, Section 4 and 5.


Appeals

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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 23.
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 Article 23; Article 16 and 17 of the Law of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights \"The Commissioner shall receive and consider appeals of citizens of Ukraine, foreigners, stateless persons or persons acting in their interests, in accordance with the Law of Ukraine «On Citizens\' Appeals\"
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 Article 4, Paragraph 3 of the Law of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights The Article says: \"The authority of the Commissioner cannot be terminated or restricted in the event of expiration of term of the authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine or its dissolution (self-dissolution), declaration of martial law or the state of emergency in Ukraine or in its separate areas.\"
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 Article 12 and 18 of the Law of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights About the reports, Article 18 says:\"During the first quarter of every year, the Commissioner shall provide the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with an annual report on the issue regarding the observance and protection of human and citizens\' rights and freedoms in Ukraine\". Concerning the financial independence of the commissioner, Article 12 says:\"Financing for the activity of the Commissioner shall be allocated from the State Budget of Ukraine and will annually receive its own distinction.\"
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 NO It seems to exist an oversight body but it´s not clearly defined.
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 Law of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Article 13, Section 5 and 6. Section 5, about the power to review classified documents. Section 6, relating to the power to inspect premises of public bodies.
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 23, Section 1 and 3.
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 Partially Article 17 of the Law of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights; Article 21 of the Ukraine Law on Citizen´s Appeals. \"The Commissioner shall receive and consider appeals...in accordance with the Law of Ukraine «On Citizens\' Appeals»\". Article 21, provides: \"Bodies of state power, bodies of local self-government, enterprises, establishments, organizations regardless of their form of ownership, citizens\' associations, officials consider petitions of citizens free of charge.\"
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 Article 23, Section 2.
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 Article 17 of the Law of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights The Article provides: \"An address can be submitted in writing to the Ombudsman not later than within one year after the fact of violation of human rights and freedoms became known to the person. In exceptional circumstances this term can be extended by the Ombudsman to two years...\"
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 NO Not mentioned.
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 It seems to exist an oversight body but it´s not clearly defined.


Sanctions & Proteccions

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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 Article 24 / Article 3, Section 1, Subsection 6 No specific mention about the destruction of documents, but it can be inferred that it´s included by reading the article.
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 Not mentioned
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 NO It seems to exist an oversight body but it´s not clearly defined.
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 YES Article 11. The person who discloses information about violations or information that deals with a serious threat to the health or security of citizens and environment, cannot be legally liable.


Promotional measures

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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 3, Section 1, Subsection 2 / Article 14, Section 1, Subsection 5 / Article 15, Section 1, Subsection 5.
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 It seems to exist an oversight body but it´s not clearly defined.
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 Article 15.
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 16.
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 14, Section 1, Subsection 2. / Article 18
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 NO Not mentioned.
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 NO It seems to exist an oversight body but it´s not clearly defined.