The Tobacco Industry's Strategic Use of Freedom of Information Laws: A Comparative Analysis
Oxford University Comparative Law Forum (2016), Forthcoming
35 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2016
Date Written: September 30, 2015
This paper attempts to derive lessons from the freedom of information (FOI) laws in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States for achieving an appropriate balance between transparency and government openness on the one hand and preventing abuse of the FOI system by powerful industries on the other. The paper focuses on the strategic use by the tobacco industry of FOI in these countries, concluding that reforms could reduce undue financial and human resource burdens on governments in dealing with overly broad requests. The ability to reject or limit such requests, to more closely align the costs to the applicant with the costs of processing the request, and to take account of the nature and purpose of the request could prevent deliberate abuse of the system. This paper was finalised in September 2015.
Keywords: FOI, tobacco, administrative law, public health, transparency
JEL Classification: I18, K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation