Archive material

The Information Commissioner provides legal protection in regards to the availability of public archive material under the conditions prescribed by the Law on Archive Material and Archives, which guarantees the right to access public archives to all legal and natural persons under equal conditions, through viewing or any other form of usage in accordance with the provisions of that law. Via request, a user may demand that state archives and the archives of local and regional self-government units grant access to public archive material, on which the aforementioned archives are required to make a decision. A user who requests material or data that is not publicly available as prescribed by the said Act must list the reasons why this material is important to realising his right of access to the material in the request.

State archives and LRG archives must provide access to the material within a reasonable time, taking into account the urgency of the request and that the deadline for responding to a user’s request cannot be longer than the deadlines set by the Act on the Right of Access to Information.

The Law on Archive Material and Archives also introduces and applies the proportionality and public interest test, as Art. Article 18, paragraph 5 stipulates that public archival material may be put into use before the expiration of the deadlines prescribed in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the same article, if, based on the law regulating the right of access to information and the protection of the secrecy of the data, it is established that public interest, which is achieved through the availability of data, prevails over the interests that are being protected or if measures have already been taken to ensure the protection of public and private interests for which a limitation on availability was established, i.e. if access was not allowed to classified information.

An appeal can be filed with the Information Commissioner against the State archives’ or LRG archives’ decision which decides on the request for access to the archive material within 15 days of the delivery of the decision. The Commissioner decides on the appeal in accordance with the Act on the Right of Access to Information and the General Administrative Procedure Act. An appeal may not be filed against the Commissioner’s decision, but an administrative dispute may be initiated before the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia.