Darina Palova, AIP

The Court compelled the Director of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA) to provide public information. With a Decision No. 5115 (in Bulgarian) as of November 14, 2011, the Administrative Court Sofia City (ACSC) repealed the silent refusal of the BFSA Executive Director. The NGO “Four Paws” requested information about inquires how Chapter V of the Protection of Animals Act was implemented within the municipalities.[1] The NGO also requested copy of the inspection reports and the recommendations made. The ACSC repeals the decision on the following grounds:
-  the requested information is public as it relates to specific inquiries on the compliance with legal provisions and the recommendations of public authorities. Furthermore, the information sought would enable the citizen to form an opinion on how the inspection authorities work;
-  in any case the BFSA is required to issue a motivated decision upon the request, which the authority failed to do. This failure is a serious procedural breach and contravenes the Administrative Procedure Code and shall be repealed.

The Court ordered the public authority to reconsider the file and to provide the information within one month after the decision becomes final. Up until now the BFSA provided part of the documents.  

Final decision on the case against the Executive Director of the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR). The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) upheld the decision of the first instance (the ACSC) repealing the explicit refusal of the Executive Director to provide information to a citizen who requested information on the number of vehicles property of the BNR, their makes and models. The court of first instance repealed the refusal and its decision was appealed by the Executive Director of the BNR. With its Decision No 170 (in Bulgarian) as of January 5, 2012, the SAC upheld the first instance findings. According to the Court, the preparatory documents exemption does not apply to the information sought, nor it is likely to harm any third party interests (Art. 37 of the APIA). The appellate court also agrees with the first instance holding that the information would enable the citizen to form his own opinion on the acts of disposition with this movable property.

The decision is final. 

The minutes of general meetings of Water Supply and Sewerage Systems Ltd – Sliven are public information. The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) as a second instance overturned the decision of the Administrative court – Sliven which dismissed the complaint against the refusal of the Water Supply Company (which is obliged authority as public law organization). The first instance grounded its decision on the fact that the requestor sought access to specific document, not access to information as provided by the APIA. The SAC overruled, holding that the company is obliged under the APIA authority as public law organization as defined by § 1, item 4b of the Miscellaneous and Final Provisions of the APIA (state ownership and oversight). As obliged authority the company is required to provide information generated within the scope of its competence. The court further found that the minutes have the characteristics of public information as they would enable the citizen to form an opinion on the activities of the obliged authority.

The decision is final.


[1] Pursuant to the Protection of Animals Act, the BFSA and the local authorities are vested with inspection powers over the compliance with the provision on protection of stray animals.

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