Rulings in Holland Ban Charging FOI Processing Fees

8 February 2013

Two court rulings in Holland have said that requesters may not be charged for the cost of processing their freedom of information requests.

They may be assessed the costs of making copies and mailing.

“This is a landslide victory although in The Netherlands there are no, and there were never, legal grounds for charging fees,” according Roger Vleugels, who filed the test cases for RTL Nieuws.

Beginning about five years ago some municipalities began to charge for processing, which they did in several hundred cases, according to Vleugels, a Dutch freedom of information lecturer and legal advisor,  The next step will be to recover the fees paid, which amount to tens of thousands of euros.

In Dutch are available: a press release of the court (Hoge Raad) and the rulings.

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