Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Freedom of Information in France - Law and Practice

D. Dragos, B. Marseille and P. Kovac (eds.), The Laws of Transparency in Action: A European Perspective (Palgrave Macmillan), 2018, Forthcoming

EGPA 2017 CONFERENCE Milan, Italy, 28th August-1st September 2017

42 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2017 Last revised: 6 Oct 2017

Yseult Marique

University of Essex - School of Law; Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - Faculty of Law

Emmanuel Slautsky

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - Faculty of Law; KU Leuven - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 7, 2017

Abstract

In France, a 1978 statute granted every person the right to obtain communication of documents held by an administration within the framework of its public service mission, regardless of their form or medium. This marked a stark break away from a tradition of administrative secrecy and sought to improve the relations between the French State and its citizens.

As in other jurisdictions, the French legislation on freedom of information (FOI) aims to find a balance between the right to access public information (a democratic requirement and a prerequisite for the exercise of fundamental rights), and other competing interests (privacy, competition and public order and security). This equilibrium is constantly reshaped under the influence of technological developments and of an increasing commodification of public information. Changes and adaptation occur either through legislative changes (such as the 2016 statute on “Republique numérique”) as well as in practice, e.g. through the combined interaction of an independent authority – the Commission d’accès aux documents administratifs (CADA) – and the French administrative judge, the Council of State.

This paper examines the law and the practice of FOI in France. Besides a short historical account, it will be based on classic doctrinal scholarship, strongly supplemented by an empirical investigation, involving interviews with different actors in the field (especially members of the CADA and legislators etc.) and the analysis of empirical data available in official sources such as annual reports of the CADA and of the Council of State.

Part of a broader research undertaken by Professors Dacian C. Dragos, Polona Kovač and Bert Marseille on transparency in Europe, this paper assesses the effectiveness of the FOI in France, from an institutional and practical perspective.

Keywords: Freedom of information, transparency, France, Open data

JEL Classification: K23

Suggested Citation

Marique, Yseult and Slautsky, Emmanuel, Freedom of Information in France - Law and Practice (September 7, 2017). D. Dragos, B. Marseille and P. Kovac (eds.), The Laws of Transparency in Action: A European Perspective (Palgrave Macmillan), 2018, Forthcoming; EGPA 2017 CONFERENCE Milan, Italy, 28th August-1st September 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3033917

Yseult Marique (Contact Author)

University of Essex - School of Law ( email )

Colchester, Essex CO43SQ
United Kingdom

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - Faculty of Law ( email )

50, av. F. Roosevelt
Brussels, 1050
Belgium

Emmanuel Slautsky

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - Faculty of Law ( email )

50, av. F. Roosevelt
Brussels, 1050
Belgium

KU Leuven - Faculty of Law ( email )

Tiensestraat 41
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Paper statistics

Downloads
33
Abstract Views
205