Law on the Right to Access Information

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CROATIAN PARLIAMENT

Pursuant to Article 89 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, I am issuing a

DECISION ON PROMULGATING THE LAW ON THE RIGHT OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION

I hereby promulgate the Law on the Right of Access to Information enacted by the Croatian Parliament at its session held on 15 February 2013.

Class: 011-01/13-01/27

Reg. No.: 71-05-03/1-13-2

Zagreb, 21 February 2013

President of the Republic of Croatia
Ivo Josipović, signed

THE LAW ON THE RIGHT OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION

I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Contents

Article 1

(1) This Law shall regulate the right of access to information and re-use of information held by the public authority bodies, the principles of the right of access to information and re-use of information, restrictions to the right of access to information, the procedure of exercising the right of access to information and re-use of information and the protection thereof, the scope, the manner of operation and requirements for appointment and discharge of the Information Commissioner and the inspectional supervision of the implementation of this Law.

(2) This Law shall also regulate other obligations of the public authority bodies and the misdemeanour provisions referring to exercising of the right of access to information.

(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.

Compliance with the Regulations of the European Union

Article 2

This Law contains provisions complying with the following acts of the European Union:

– Directive 2003/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 on the re-use of public sector information,

– Regulation 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.

Objective

Article 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.

Gender neutrality of expressions

Article 4

Expressions used in this Law and in subsequently enacted regulations, which are gender-specific, equally refer to both, male and female gender, regardless of whether they are used in male or female form.

Terms and definitions

Article 5

For the purpose of this Law, certain expressions have the following meaning:

1) »Beneficiary of the right of access to information and the re-use of information« (hereinafter: beneficiary) is any local or foreign natural person or legal entity;

2) »Public authority bodies«, for the purpose of this Law, are the public authorities, other state authorities, bodies of the local and regional self-government units, legal entities with public competences and other persons holding public competences, legal entities established by the  Republic of Croatia or the local and regional self-government units, legal entities and other persons engaged in public administration, legal entities entirely funded by the state budget or the budget of the local and regional self-government units, as well as companies in which the Republic of Croatia or the local and regional self-government units hold individual or joint majority ownership;

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);

4) »International information« is any information provided to the Republic of Croatia by a foreign country or international organisation that the Republic of Croatia cooperates with or holds membership in;

5) »The right of access to information« encompasses the right of the beneficiaries to seek and acquire information, as well as the obligation of the public authority bodies to ensure access to requested information, that is, to disclose information regardless of the request, when so required by the law or other regulations;

6) »Re-use« is the use of the public authority information by natural persons or legal entities, for commercial or non-commercial purposes different from the original purpose within the public task that these information have been generated for. Exchange of information among public authority bodies in order to perform tasks within their scope is not considered a re-use;

7) »Proportionality Test and Public Interest Test« refer to the assessment of proportionality between reasons for granting access to information and reasons for imposing restrictions and granting access to information only if the public interest prevails;

8) »Information holder«, for the purpose of this Law, is the competent public authority body of the Republic of Croatia or foreign countries or international organisations that generated the relevant information within their scope of actions;

9) »Central catalogue of official documents of the Republic of Croatia« is an on-line tool available to the public, ensuring permanent user access to full text and/or organised metadata of documents archived in electronic databases and/or hard copy collections;

10) »Information Commissioner« (hereinafter: Commissioner) is an independent government body for protection of the right of access to information.

II. PRINCIPLES

The principle of publicity and free access

Article 6

Information are available to any local or foreign natural person or legal entity under terms and restrictions of this Law.

The principle of timeliness, entirety and accuracy of information

Article 7

Information disclosed, i.e. provided by the public authorities must be timely provided, complete and accurate.

The principle of equality

Article 8

(1) The right of access to information and the re-use thereof is granted to every beneficiary in an equal manner and under the same terms. The beneficiaries are equals in exercising thereof.

(2) The public authorities may not put the beneficiaries in unequal positions, especially in a way that enables some beneficiaries to obtain information before the others or in a way that provides them with special benefits.

The principle of disposal of information

Article 9

The beneficiaries, who have the information at their disposal in accordance with this Law, are entitled to disclose this information in public.

III. OBLIGATIONS OF PUBLIC AUTHORITY BODIES

Publishing information

Article 10

(1) Public authority bodies shall be bound to publish on the Internet the following information in a user friendly manner:

1) laws and other regulations relevant for their scope of activities;

2) general acts and decisions enacted by them, which influence the interests of beneficiaries, together with reasons for enacting thereof;

3) draft proposals of laws and other regulations and general acts enacted by them, in accordance with the provisions of Article 11 of this Law;

4) annual plans, programmes, strategies, instructions, work reports, financial reports and other relevant documents referring to activities of the public authority bodies;

5) information on financing sources, budget and budget execution;

6) information on allocated subsidies, non-refundable grants or donations including a list of beneficiaries and amounts;

7) information on their internal organisation, including the names of headpersons of such bodies and headpersons of their organisational units with their contact information;

8) notes and conclusions from the official sessions of public authority bodies and the official documents enacted at these sessions, including information on performance of the formal work bodies within their jurisdiction;

9) information on public procurement procedures and tender documents including information on fulfilling the contract obligations;

10) information on announced tenders and tender documents;

11) registers and databases or information on registers and databases within their jurisdiction and the manner of access thereto;

12) information on the manner of exercising rights of access to and re-use of information, including contact details of the Information Commissioner;

13) the fee required for access to and re-use of information, under criteria set out in Article 19 paragraph 3 of this Law;

14) the most frequently required information;

15) other information (news, press releases, information on other activities).

(2) Public authority bodies shall be bound to submit the documents referred to in paragraph 1 items 2, 3 and 4 of this Article to the Central catalogue of official documents of the Republic of Croatia in order to ensure permanent access and re-use of information, and the public authority body in charge of enacting legal regulations, by-laws and documents referred to in paragraph 1 item 1 of this Article. The tasks of managing and maintaining the Central catalogue of official documents of the Republic of Croatia are conducted by the Croatian Information Documentation Referral Agency (HIDRA).

(3) The manner of structuring and managing the Central catalogue of official documents of the Republic of Croatia shall be regulated by the Minister authorised for the general administrative tasks.

(4) The provisions of this Article shall not apply to information subject to access restrictions under the provisions of this Law.

Disclosing of documents for the purpose of public consultations

Article 11

(1) In order to inform the public, the public authority bodies in charge of drafting laws and by-laws shall be bound to publish on their Internet pages an annual plan of legislative activities and the plan of consultations on draft laws and by-laws referring to their scope of activities.

(2) The public authority bodies as referred to in paragraph 1of this Article shall be bound to publish on their Internet pages draft laws and other draft regulations that are subject to consultations with the interested public, usually in duration of 30 days, including the reasons for promulgation and goals to be reached during the consultations.

(3) Upon conducting the consultations, the public authority bodies shall be bound to inform the interested public on accepted and rejected comments and suggestions through their Internet pages, where they should publish the report on conducted consultations with the interested public, which should be submitted to the Government of the Republic of Croatia.

(4) The provisions of paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of this Article shall be adequately applied in procedures of enacting general acts of the local and regional self-government units and legal entities with public competences, regulating the issues within their scope, which directly influence the fulfilment of the needs of citizens or other issues of interest for the overall benefit of the citizens and legal entities within their area, i.e. within the scope of their activities (landscaping and housing arrangements, physical planning, public utilities and other public services, environmental protection and other).

Publicity of work

Article 12

(1) Public authority bodies shall be bound to inform the public on:

1) agendas of meetings and sessions of official bodies and their scheduled times, manner of work and possibilities of direct insight into their work,

2) the number of persons who may be directly reviewing the work of the public authority bodies at the same time, by taking into account the sequence of registration.

(2) The public authority bodies are not obliged to provide the direct insight into their activities referring to the matters from which the public should be excluded, as requested by the law, i.e. if these information are subject to access restrictions under this Law.

Information Commissioner

Article 13

(1) For the purpose of ensuring the right of access to information, the public authority body is bound to issue a decision on appointment of a special official in charge of resolving the issues of exercising the right of access to information (hereinafter: Information Commissioner).

(2) The public authority body shall be bound to inform the public on the official data of the Information Commissioner.

(3) Information Commissioner:

1) shall conduct the tasks of the regular disclosure of information, in accordance with the internal structure of the public authority body, as well as the tasks of resolving individual requests for access to and re-use of information,

2) shall improve the manner of processing, classification, safe-keeping and disclosing information contained in official documents referring to the work of public authorities,

3) shall provide the necessary assistance to applicants, in relation to exercising of the rights specified under this Law.

(4) The public authority body is bound to inform the Commissioner on the decision on appointing the Information Commissioner within a month since the decision has been issued.

(5) The Commissioner is in charge of maintaining the Information Commissioner Register.

The official register

Article 14

(1) The public authority body shall be bound to maintain a special Official Register of requests, procedures and decisions referring to exercising of the right of access to and re-use of information, in accordance with the provisions of this Law.

(2) Structure, contents and the manner of maintaining the Official Register shall be prescribed by the Minister authorised for the general administrative tasks.

IV. RESTRICTIONS TO THE RIGHT OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Restrictions and their duration

Article 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 generated by public authority bodies, and if disclosure prior to completion of the final version might seriously undermine the decision-making process;

6) if access to information has been restricted in accordance with international treaties,

7) in other cases specified by the law.

(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,

3) violate the right of intellectual ownership, with the exemption of an exclusive written consent of the author or owner.

(4) Information restricted due to reasons referred to in paragraph 3 item 3 of this Article shall become available to the public when so determined by persons who might suffer the damage caused by disclosing the information, but no longer than 20 days from the day of generating the information, unless longer period of time has been prescribed by the law or other regulation.

(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.

(6) Information shall be available to the public upon the termination of reasons due to which the public authority body has imposed a restriction of access to information.

Proportionality Test and Public Interest Test

Article 16

(1) The public authority body in charge of acting upon the request for access to information as referred to in Article 15 paragraph 2 items 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 and paragraph 3 of this Law, is bound to, prior to reaching a decision, conduct the Proportionality Test and the Public Interest Test. The information holder as referred to in Article 15 paragraph 2 item 1 of this Law, 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.

(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 and 3 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.

(3) Information on disposal of public funds shall be available to the public without conducting the procedure referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, with the exemption of classified information.

V. PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS

Manners of exercising the right of access to information

Article 17

(1) Public authority bodies shall be bound to grant access to information by:

1) timely publishing the information on their work in an adequate and accessible manner, i.e. on Internet web pages of the public authority body or in the Official Gazette and the  Central catalogue of official documents of the Republic of Croatia, for the purpose of informing the public,

2) 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.

Request

Article 18

(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.

(3) Written request contains: name and address of the public authority body which the request shall be submitted to, data relevant for recognising the requested information, name, surname and address of the natural person submitting the request, company name, i.e. name of the legal entity and its address.

(4) The submitter of the request shall not be obliged to mention any reasons for requesting access to information, nor referring to this Law.

Fees for accessing information

Article 19

(1) Access to information in procedures before the public authority bodies does not require paying administrative and court fees.

(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.

(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.

(4) The income based on the fees collected pursuant to paragraph 2 of this Article, shall be considered the income of the public authority body.

Deadlines

Article 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.

(2) In the case of incomplete or incomprehensible request, the public authority body shall without delay contact the submitter in order to make corrections within 5 days from the day of receiving the instruction to make the corrections. If the submitter fails to correct the request in the appropriate manner, and the original request does not provide clear information as to the information requested, the public authority body shall reject the request by issuing a decision.

Transfer of request

Article 21

(1) If the public authority body does not hold the information, but has the knowledge of the public authority body that does possess the respective information, it is bound to, without delay, but no later than eight days since the request has been received, transfer the request to the respective body and notify the submitter thereof. The deadlines for exercising the right of access to information shall be calculated since the day when the public authority body received the transferred request.

(2) If the public authority body receives a request for access to information from Article 15 paragraph 2, item 1 of this Law, and does not hold the information in question, it shall be bound to, without delay, but no later than eight days from receiving the request, transfer the request to the information holder, and notify the submitter thereof.

(3) If the public authority body receives a request for access to international information, it is bound to, without delay, but no later than eight days from receiving the request, transfer the request to the information holder, and notify the submitter thereof. Exceptionally, the public authority body shall act upon the request for access to international information, if the information itself arguably shows that it was intended for direct publication.

Prolongation of deadlines

Article 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 integrity of the requested information,

4) if the situation requires conducting the Proportionality Test and the Public Interest Test, in accordance with the provisions 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.

Decision regarding the request

Article 23

(1) The public authority body shall not issue a Decision on the request in the following cases:

1) when providing the beneficiary with an access to requested information,

2) when notifying the beneficiary that he/she has already received the same information, and the period since submitting the prior request was shorter than 90 days,

3) when explaining to the beneficiary that the information has been disclosed in public,

4) when notifying the beneficiary that her/his access to information from the court, administrative and other procedures has been determined by the law due to taking part in the proceedings,

5) when notifying the beneficiary that the information has been restricted or classified, pursuant to Article 1 paragraph 4 and 5 of this Law.

(2) The public authority body is bound to, without delay notify the Submitter in writing about any reasons as specified in paragraph 1, item 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this Article.

(3) The public authority body shall issue a Decision when providing the beneficiary with an access to the requested information, by implementing the provisions of Article 16 paragraph 1 of this Law.

(4) The public authority body shall issue a Decision on rejecting the request if not in possession of the information or the knowledge of its whereabouts.

(5) The public authority body shall issue a Decision on rejecting the request in the cases as follow:

1) if the conditions prescribed in Article 15 paragraph 1 of this Law have been fulfilled,

2) if the conditions prescribed in Article 15 paragraphs 2 and 3, and relating to Article 16 paragraph 1 of this Law have been fulfilled,

3) if it has decided that there is no basis for amending or correcting the given information referred to in Article 24 of this Law,

4) if the requested information is not considered an information in terms of the Article 5 paragraph 1 item 3 of this Law.

Amendment and correction of information

Article 24

(1) If the beneficiary considers the information provided on the basis of request to be inaccurate or incomplete, he/she may request the correction, i.e. amendment of the respective information within 15 days since the day of receiving the information.

(2) The public authority body shall be bound to decide on the request for amendment, i.e. correction of the information, within 15 days since receiving the request, pursuant to Article 23 of this Law.

Complaint

Article 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.

(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.

(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.

(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.

(5) When the Commissioner is required to examine the regularity of or conduct the Proportionality Test and the Public Interest Test in the procedure of reviewing the Complaint, he/she is bound to issue a decision on the Complaint through the first degree body, no later than 60 days since an orderly complaint has been filed.

(6) When the Commissioner requests an opinion of the Office of the National Security Council for information from the Article 15 paragraph 2, item 1of this Law, he/she is bound to issue a Decision and deliver it to the Submitter, through the first degree body, no later than 90 days since an orderly complaint has been filed.

(7) When the Commissioner has determined that the Complaint is valid, he/she shall issue a Decision on providing an access to information.

Administrative dispute

Article 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.

(2) Administrative dispute against the Decision as referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article may be initiated by the public authority body that has issued the first degree Decision.

(3) In the procedure following the Complaint, the public authority bodies shall be bound to enable the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia to review the information from the Article 15 paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Law, which are the subject of the procedure.

VI. RE-USE OF INFORMATION

The right to re-use information

Article 27

(1) Every beneficiary has a right to re-use information for commercial or non-commercial purposes, in accordance with the provisions of this Law.

(2) For the purpose of re-using the information, the public authority body shall make its information available in the electronic form whenever possible and appropriate. The public authority body is not bound to ensure the transformation of the information into another form, nor ensure the partial use of information, and is not bound to renew (update, upgrade, continue creating) the certain information solely for the purpose of re-use.

Request for re-use

Article 28

In request for re-use of information the Submitter must, apart from the data referred to in Article 18 paragraph 3 of this Law, include the following:

1) information that they wish to re-use,

2) the manner in which they wish to receive the contents of the requested information,

3) the purpose for which they wish to re-use the information (commercial or non-commercial purpose).

Deadline for deciding on requests for re-use

Article 29

(1) The public authority body shall decide on the request for re-use of information within 15 days since the day of submitting an orderly request.

(2) In the case of incomplete or incomprehensive request, the public authority body shall, without delay, contact the Submitter and ask to correct the request within five days since the day of receiving the request to make the corrections. If the Submitter fails to correct the request in the appropriate manner, the public authority body shall issue a Decision on rejecting the request.

(3) Deadlines for deciding on requests for re-use of information may be extended for 15 days, calculating from the day when the public authority body should have decided on the request for re-use of information due to reasons referred to in Article 22 paragraph 1 items 1, 2 and 3 of this Law.

(4) The public authority body shall, without delay, and no later than eight days, inform the Submitter on the prolongation of deadlines and the reasons thereof.

Decision on the request for re-use of information

Article 30

(1) The public authority body shall not issue a Decision on the request when granting the re-use of information.

(2) The public authority body granting access to information for re-use may set the terms for re-use of information. The terms may not unnecessarily restrict the possibility of re-use, and may not be used to impose limits on the market competition.

(3) In the case of granting an exclusive right for re-use, under Article 34 paragraph 1 of this Law, the public authority body shall conclude a contract with the beneficiary in order to regulate the terms of re-use of information.

(4) The public authority body shall issue a Decision on rejecting the request for re-use of information if the request refers to the following:

1) information referred to in Article 15 paragraph 1 of this Law,

2) information referred to in Article 15 paragraph 2 and 3 of this Law,

3) information protected by the rights relating to intellectual property of third persons, including the name of the intellectual rights owner if known,

4) information held by the bodies providing the public radio and television services or the bodies providing public services in the field of education, science, research and cultural activities,

5) information accessed solely by the competent persons, as prescribed by another law,

6) information that were not generated within the scope of activities of the respective public authority body.

Fees for the re-use of information

Article 31

(1) The public authority body shall charge no fees for the re-use of information if the same information are available on the Internet, free of charge.

(2) The public authority body may charge a fee for the re-use of information, in accordance with Article 19 paragraph 2 of this Law.

Publishing the terms of the re-use of information

Article 32

The public authority body shall be bound to publish in advance on its Internet page all the terms of the re-use of information and the fee referred to in Article 19 paragraph 2 of this Law.

Prohibition of discrimination

Article 33

(1) The terms of the re-use of information may not be discriminating.

(2) The re-use of information is permitted and available to any Submitter of the request, including the same fee and under the same terms. The number of Submitters that may be granted the re-use of information is unlimited. The body may not use contracts or other agreements or decisions to grant the Submitter such a re-use of information that would prevent the re-use of these information by other beneficiaries.

(3) The public authority body that re-uses its information as a basis for commercial activities outside of the scope of its public activities, shall be subject to the same terms applying to other beneficiaries.

Exclusive rights

Article 34

(1) By derogation from Article 33, paragraph 2 of this Law, the public authority body may grant an exclusive right to the re-use of information if so required for providing the public service or other services in the public interest. The validity of reasons for approval of such an exclusive right is subject to the regular review of the Commissioner and shall be reviewed at least every three years.

(2) All of the prescribed data on the approval and revision of contracts for granting an exclusive right for the re-use of information shall be delivered to the Commissioner within 15 days since the day of concluding the contract. The Commissioner maintains the record of approved exclusive rights, available to the public.

(3) Detailed terms of the re-use of information and granting exclusive rights from the paragraph 1 of this Article, as well as the contents and the manner of disclosure, including the keeping of records, shall be prescribed in an ordinance drafted by the Minister authorised for the general administrative affairs.

VII. INFORMATION COMMISSIONER

Information Commissioner

Article 35

(1) The Commissioner shall protect, monitor and promote the right of access to information guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia.

(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.

(3) The Commissioner:

– shall conduct the tasks of the second degree body in issuing decisions on complaints relating to exercising the right of access to information and the right to re-use information;

– shall conduct the supervision over the implementation of this Law;

– shall monitor the implementation of this Law and the regulations referring to the right of access to information and inform the public of the implementation thereof;

– shall make proposals to the public authority bodies regarding the measures of improving the right of access to information, regulated by this Law;

– shall inform the public on exercising the beneficiary rights of access to information;

– shall propose measures for professional education and development of information commissioners in the public authority bodies, and familiarize with the duties of the Commissioner with regard to the implementation of this Law;

– shall initiate the issuing or amending of regulations for the purpose of implementation and improvement of the right of access to information;

– shall submit to the Croatian Parliament a report on the implementation of this Law and other reports when considered necessary;

– shall take part in the activities of the work bodies in the Croatian Parliament and attend the parliamentary sessions when discussing the matters within the scope of their work;

– shall fine an indictment proposal and issue a misdemeanour order for any identified misdemeanour.

(4) In order to access and work with confidential information, the Commissioner and the civil servants in the Office must meet the conditions prescribed by the special law, and they shall be bound to keep, in accordance with the law regulating the confidential information, any personal and other confidential information that they come across in conducting their tasks.

Appointment of the Commissioner

Article 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.

Requirements for the appointment of the Commissioner

Article 37

(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.

(2) The provisions of the Civil Servants Act shall adequately apply to the Commissioner.

(3) The Commissioner is entitled to remuneration in the amount of remunerations received by the vice-presidents of the Parliamentary Committees.

Discharge of the Commissioner

Article 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, Informatization and Media of the Croatian Parliament.

Organisation of the Office of the Commissioner

Article 39

(1) The Commissioner shall have an Office of the Commissioner, as an expert service.

(2) The Office of the Commissioner contains the internal organisational units referring to the certain areas of work, in accordance with the type of work.

(3) Persons employed in the Office of the Commissioner shall be subject to the provisions of the Civil Service Act.

(4) In relation to the persons employed in the Office, the Commissioner shall have the position of the headperson.

(5) The internal organisation of the Office of the Commissioner shall be regulated by the Rules of Procedure.

(6) The Office of the Commissioner shall be located in Zagreb.

(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.

Rules of Procedure of the Commissioner and the Ordinance on the internal order

Article 40

(1) The Commissioner shall enact the Rules of Procedure that shall be approved by the Croatian Parliament. The Rules of Procedure shall be published in the »Official Gazette«.

(2) The Rules of Procedure shall regulate the internal organisation, the manner of work of the Commissioner, the manner of planning and conducting tasks, and other issues important for conducting the work of the Commissioner.

(3) The Commissioner shall enact the Ordinance on the internal order regulating the number of civil servants required to perform the tasks, indicating their basic tasks and duties, and professional requirements necessary for conducting these tasks, their authorisations and responsibilities, and other issues important for the work of the Commissioner.

VIII. SUPERVISION

Supervision of implementation of the Law

Article 41

The supervision over the implementation of this Law shall be conducted by the Commissioner.

Inspectional supervision

Article 42

(1) Inspectional supervision over the implementation of this Law shall be conducted by inspectors and other authorised officials of the Office of the Commissioner (hereinafter: Inspectors).

(2) Inspectors must meet the following professional requirements: completed graduate study programme or a specialist graduate professional study in legal profession or another profession relating to social sciences, three years of work experience on the positions relating to implementation of laws or supervision over the implementation of laws and other regulations, and a state licence exam.

Article 43

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.

Article 44

(1) The Inspector shall be independent in his/her work.

(2) No person shall be allowed to use their official position or in other way prevent or obstruct the Inspector in conducting the supervision and taking measures and activities which they are authorised for.

Tasks of the Inspector

Article 45

(1) In conducting the inspectional supervision over the implementation of this Law, the Inspectors shall especially supervise the following:

– whether the state authority body has appointed an Information Officer and whether the Information Officer acts in accordance with the authorisations prescribed by this Law;

– whether the state authority body keeps a special official record on requirements, procedures and decisions on exercising the rights of access to and re-use of information;

– whether the state authority body publishes the amount of the fee required to access the information and re-use them, in accordance with Article 19 paragraph 2 of this Law;

– whether the public authority body publishes the information in accordance with Article 10 paragraph 1 of this Law;

– whether the state authority body delivers a report in accordance with Article 60 of this Law;

– regularity in implementing the provisions of this Law upon receiving requests for access to information and requests for re-use of information;

– conducting other activities upon receiving requests for access to information and requests for re-use of information.

(2) In conducting the inspectional supervision, the Inspectors are entitled to request and acquire from the public authority bodies all the information that are the subject of procedures, in accordance with this Law.

(3) Information from the Article 1 paragraphs 4 and 5 of this Law may not be the subjects of the inspectional supervision.

The manner of work of the Inspector

Article 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.

Article 47

(1) The Inspector is bound to inform the headperson of the public authority body (hereinafter: Head of the public authority body) on the inspection, no later than three days prior to the supervision.

(2) In derogation from paragraph 1 of this Article, in case of urgency the Inspector may conduct the inspectional supervision without any prior announcements.

(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.

(4) Within conducting the supervision, the Inspector may occasionally take statements from the headpersons of the public authority bodies under supervision or other officials.

Article 48

(1) While conducting an indirect inspectional supervision, the Inspector is authorised to make a written request for the delivery of documents within an appropriate deadline specified by the Inspector.

(2) The headperson of the public authority body under supervision or another authorised person is bound to act upon the request of the Inspector, as well to ensure the delivery of complete and accurate data, and in case of inability to act, they should, without delay, submit a written statement thereon.

Article 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.

(3) the Inspector shall be bound to, depending on the nature of the ordered measures, set an appropriate deadline for the implementation thereof.

(4) If during the inspectional supervision no illegal practices, irregularities or deficiencies in work have been determined, the headperson of the public authority body under supervision shall be informed on such a fact, in writing.

Rights and duties of the Inspector

Article 50

In the Minutes, the Inspector may order the following measures:

1) to take the appropriate measures in order to remove the identified breaches of this Law and other regulations, irregularities and deficiencies in performance of the public authority body under supervision,

2) to prohibit the activities taken against this Law or other regulations,

3) to suggest taking measures aiming to remove irregularities or deficiencies in work,

4) to suggest taking measures aiming to improve the performance of the public authority body under supervision.

Article 51

(1) The Minutes are delivered to the headperson of the public authority body under supervision.

(2) The Minutes may also be delivered to the body superior to the body under supervision, pursuant to the regulations on the state administration structure, i.e. local and regional self-government units.

Objection to the Minutes

Article 52

(1) Against the Minutes, the headperson of the public authority body under supervision may file an objection within eight days from receiving the Minutes.

(2) The objection may refute the Minutes due to the following:

1) incomplete or wrongly determined factual situation, irregular implementation of regulations and measures ordered on the basis thereof,

2) exceeding the authority in implementation of the inspectional supervision by the Inspector.

(3) Filing the objection is followed by the Decision on the objection to the minutes (hereinafter: Decision).

(4) The Decision from the paragraph 3 of this Article is not considered an administrative act.

Article 53

(1) The Decision must be reached within 30 days since the objection has been received.

(2) The objection shall delay the obligation to act upon the ordered measures until the Decision has been received.

Acting upon the objection

Article 54

(1) The objection filed against the Minutes drafted by the Inspector, due to reasons referred to in Article 52 paragraph 2, item 1 of this Law shall be reviewed by the Inspector who has conducted the supervision and drafted the Minutes. In case of a grounded objection the Inspector shall alter the Minutes in terms of the objection.

(2) If the Inspector finds the objection completely or partially ungrounded, the objection shall be sent for decision to the Commissioner, along with the Inspector’s statement.

(3) The Commissioner shall review the objection and the statement, and shall be authorised to do the following:

1) cancel or change the ordered measure, in case of the grounded objection,

2) reject the objection.

Article 55

(1) The Commissioner shall decide on the objection to the Minutes submitted due to reasons prescribed by Article 52 paragraph 2, item 2 of this Law.

(2) When acting upon the objection, the Commissioner is authorised to:

1) cancel the ordered measure, if the Inspector has ordered the respective measure outside of the limits of his/her authority,

2) reject the objection.

Control over the implementation of measures arising from the Minutes

Article 56

(1) The headperson of the public authority body is bound to implement the ordered measure within the deadline set in the Minutes.

(2) The headperson of the public authority body is bound to, within 15 days since the deadline to implement the measures ordered by the Minutes has expired, deliver to the Inspector the report and evidence on the implementation of measures.

Article 57

(1) The control over the implementation of the ordered measures shall be exerted by the Inspector, mostly in an indirect manner, through collecting reports and evidence of the implementation of measures.

(2) The control over the implementation of the ordered measures may also be exerted through a direct control-inspectional supervision, if so required by the nature of activities to be conducted in implementing the measures, i.e. when the need for direct control supervision due to deficiencies has been ordered by the Inspector in his/her report.

Article 58

If the public authority body under supervision has failed to implement the measure ordered in order to prevent the illegal practices, the Commissioner is bound to inform:

1) the Government of the Republic of Croatia, if the measures have not been implemented by the central state administration bodies whose headpersons are accountable directly to the Government of the Republic of Croatia,

2) the central state administration body conducting the supervision over the performance of the state administrative organisation, in accordance with the law,

3) the central state administration body in charge of the system and organisation of the state administration, local and regional self-government, if the measures have not been implemented by the state administration office at the county level, i.e. the bodies of the local and regional self-government units.

4) founder of the public authority body.

Acting upon petitions

Article 59

(1) The Inspectors shall act upon petitions regarding the work of the public authority body in relation to the implementation of this Law.

(2) The Inspector shall be bound to review the submitted petition.

(3) If the Inspector, after reviewing the petition, finds the statements made in the petition to be grounded, he/she shall be authorised to request a report and send a warning requesting an urgent prevention of the potential illegal practices.

(4) If the Inspector, in acting upon the petition, determines the facts set out in the petition to be corrects, and if the prevention of illegal practices or irregularities requires ordering measures, the Inspector shall conduct an ex officio inspectional supervision, in the manner and in accordance with the authorisation under this Law.

(5) The Inspector shall be bound to notify the petitioner in writing on the established facts, i.e. on the measures taken upon the petition. A notification is not considered an administrative act.

IX. REPORTING

Reports

Article 60

(1) All public authority bodies shall be bound to cooperate with the Commissioner.

(2) The public authority bodies shall be bound to submit to the Commissioner a report on the implementation of this Law for the previous year, no later than 31 January of the current year.

(3) The report contains the information on:

1) number of received requests for the right of access to and re-use of information,

2) number of accepted requests,

3) number of partially accepted requests,

4) number of issued notifications, pursuant to Article 23 paragraph 2 of this Law,

5) number of rejected requests and reasons for rejecting the respective requests,

6) number of refused requests and reasons for refusing the respective requests,

7) number of transferred requests,

8) number of received requests for correction or amendment of information,

9) number of accepted requests for correction or amendment of information,

10) number of rejected requests for correction or amendment of information,

11) number of refused requests for correction or amendment of information,

12) number of requests processed within the deadline,

13) number of requests processed outside the deadline,

14) number of unprocessed requests,

15) number of suspended procedures,

16) number of filed complaints,

17) number of accepted complaints,

18) number of rejected complaints,

19) number of refused complaints,

20) number of filed charges,

21) number of contracts on exclusive rights to re-use information,

22) amount of collected fees from the Article 19 of this Law,

23) information disclosed in accordance with the obligations specified under Article 10 of this Law.

(4) Along with the data from the paragraph 3 of this Article, the public authority bodies shall be bound to submit an explanation and evaluation of the existing situation on the basis of the presented data.

(5) The Commissioner shall submit the report on the implementation of this Law to the Croatian Parliament no later than 31 March of the current year for the previous year.

(6) The Commissioner shall draft a template of the report from the paragraph 2 of this Article and specify the manner of data delivery.

X. SUBSTANTIVE PROVISIONS

Article 61

(1) A public authority body that against the provisions of this Law prevents or imposes restrictions to exercising of the right of access to and re-use of information, shall be required to pay a fine for a misdemeanour in the amount ranging from 20,000.00 to 100,000.00 HRK.

(2) In relation to the misdemeanour from the paragraph 1 of this Article, a responsible person in the public authority body shall also be punished with a fine in the amount ranging from 5,000.00 to 20,000.00 HRK.

(3) A natural person who damages, destroys, hides or in another way renders unavailable the document containing information, aiming to prevent exercising of the right of access to information, shall be required to pay a fine for a misdemeanour in the amount ranging from 20,000.00 to 50,000.00 HRK.

(4) The misdemeanour from the paragraph 3 of this Article shall result in punishment of the public authority body and a responsible person in the public authority body, with a fine in the amount ranging from 20,000.00 to 50,000.00 HRK.

(5) A natural person shall be punished with a fine in the amount ranging from 1,000.00 to 50,000.00 HRK, while a legal entity shall be punished with a fine in the amount ranging from 2,000.00 to 100,000.00 HRK, for the use of information contrary to the conditions for re-use of information from Article 32 of this Law.

Article 62

(1) The public authority body shall be punished for a misdemeanour with a fine ranging from 2,000.00 to 4,000.00 HRK if it:

1) fails to disclose information in accordance with Article 10 paragraph 1 and Article 11 of this Law;

2) fails to appoint an Information Commissioner;

3) fails to submit an annual report on the implementation of this Law.

(2) In relation to the misdemeanour from the paragraph 1 of this Article, a responsible person in the public authority body shall also be punished with a fine ranging from 1,000.00 to 2,000.00 HRK.

(3) A public authority body shall be punished for a misdemeanour with a fine ranging from 5,000.00 to 10.000,00 HRK if it:

1) fails to act upon the Decision issued by the Commissioner,

2) fails to provide the Commissioner with an insight into the information subject to the procedure, fails to deliver the requested data or delivers incomplete, i.e. irregular data,

3) prevents the Inspector from conducting a supervision without disturbances,

4) fails to prevent illegal practices, irregularities and deficiencies specified in the Minutes within the set deadline.

(4) In relation to the misdemeanour from the paragraph 3 of this Article, a responsible person in the public authority body shall also be punished with a fine ranging from 3,000.00 to 5,000.00 HRK.

Fully completed obligation

Article 63

The public authority body shall be bound to enable the beneficiary to exercise the right of access to information regardless of the ordered sanctions in the case of determined responsibility on the basis of unjustified withholding or imposing restrictions to the right of access to information.

XI. TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 64

(1) The Ordinances referred to in Article 10 paragraph 3, Article 14 and Article 34 paragraph 3 of this Law shall be enacted by the Minister authorised for the general administrative tasks within 90 days since the present Act has come into effect.

(2) The Commissioner shall specify the criteria applied to determine the amount of the fees referred to in Article 19 paragraph 3 of this Law within 90 days since the day the Commissioner has been appointed.

Article 65

The public authority bodies shall ensure the organisational, material, technical and other conditions for implementing the provisions of this Law within 90 days since the present Act has come into effect.

Article 66

(1) The Personal Data Protection Agency shall conduct the tasks of an independent state body for the protection of the rights of access to information until the Information Commissioner has been appointed.

(2) As of the day of appointing the Commissioner, the Office of the Commissioner shall assume the tasks and employees of the Department for the right of access to information of the Personal Data Protection Agency, together with the equipment, archives and other documents, funds, rights and duties, in proportion with the tasks assumed.

(3) Administrative-technical tasks for the purpose of the Office of the Commissioner shall be conducted by the Personal Data Protection Agency, which shall be regulated by the Agreement concluded between the Commissioner and the Personal Data Protection Agency.

Appointment of the Commissioner

Article 67

Within eight days since the present Law has come into effect, the Committee for the Constitution, Rules of Procedure and Political System shall initiate the procedure of appointment of the Commissioner.

Article 68

(1) The Commissioner shall within 60 days from his/her appointment submit for approval to the Croatian Parliament the Rules of Procedure created in line with the provisions of this Law and a special law regulating the matters referring to authorisation of the Commissioner.

(2) The Commissioner shall enact the Ordinance on the internal order within 30 days since the Rules of Procedure from the paragraph 1 of this Article has come into effect.

Article 69

(1) The procedures initiated prior to coming into effect of this Law shall continue and finish in line with the provisions of the Law of the Right of Access to Information (»Official Gazette « No. 172/03, 144/10, 37/11 and 77/11).

(2) The Ordinance on the structure, contents and manner of keeping the official register on exercising the right of access to information (»Official Gazette« No. 137/04) shall remain in force until coming into effect of the Ordinance from Article 14 paragraph 2 of this Law.

(3) The criteria for setting the amount of the fees referred to in Article 19 paragraph 2 of the Law on the Right of Access to Information (»Official Gazette« No. 172/03, 144/10, 37/11 and 77/11) shall remain in force until coming into effect of the criteria for setting the amount of the fees and the manner of payment from Article 19 paragraph 3 of this Law.

Article 70

As of the day of appointing the Commissioner, the employees of the Department for the right of access to information of the Personal Data Protection Agency shall be transferred to the Office of the Commissioner and continue conducting the tasks they conducted on the day of coming into effect of this Law, they shall keep the right to their salary and other rights arising from their employment until issuing of the Decision on appointment to their work positions in accordance with their level of education, expert knowledge, skills, abilities, previous work experience and results achieved in accordance with the Ordinance on internal order of the Commissioner.

Article 71

On the effective date of the present Law, the Law on the Right of Access to Information (»Official Gazette« No. 172/03, 144/10, 37/11 and 77/11) shall cease to be valid.

Article 72

This Law shall come into effect on the eight day since the day it has been published in the »Official Gazette«.

Class: 008-02/12-01/03

Zagreb, 15 February 2013

CROATIAN PARLIAMENT

Chairman of the Croatian Parliament
Josip Leko, signed

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