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Access to and availability of information

Official documents and their contents shall be in the public domain, unless a statutory obligation of secrecy applies to them. A typical example of a secret document is one containing information on the health or disability of another person or information on another person being a customer of the social welfare services. If a secret document is indispensable for the consideration of a case where the person requesting access to the document is a party, the person has the right to access that document.

A request for access to a document is filed with the authority which is considering or has considered the matter. The courts, the enforcement authorities and the prosecutors make documents available on the basis of the name of a person. Legal aid offices do not disclose the names of applicants or recipients of legal aid to third parties. The authorities provide directory assistance so that the person requesting a document can identify the case to which the document pertains.

Once a document has been located, the authority ascertains whether access to it can be granted or whether it is to be kept secret. The decision is subject to appeal.

Published 25.2.2014