Right to access information

The right to information access is a fundamental human right protected by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, the European Convention on Human Rights and Freedoms, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and the Right to Access to Information Act (NN 25/2013, 85/2015).

The right of access to information is the right of the user to seek and obtain information of public character, including the obligation of the public authority to provide access to the requested information or to disclose information irrespective of the request made when such disclosure arises out of the obligation prescribed by law or other regulation. The right of access to information is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and the Law on Access to Information, the right of all natural and legal persons to obtain information held by public authorities in the Republic of Croatia, irrespective of the purpose for which the information is to be used.

Information is any information held by a public authority body, irrespective of the form in which it was created.

The right to access information is achieved by proactive disclosure of information on the Internet, which is the obligation of the public authorities body under Article 10 of the Act, as well as the submission of information requests to the body of public authority.

The Law on Access to Information gives all domestic and foreign natural and legal persons the right to access information in the same way and under equal conditions.

Obligations to provide information are bodies of public authority referred to in Article 5, item 2 of the Law, which include state administration and state bodies, local self-government, public institutions and other bodies with public authority, a legal person established by a state or local self-government unit, are performed by the public service, the majority state owned companies or local units as well as by legal entities which are financed mainly or wholly from the state budget or public funds based on a special law. The public authorities in the Republic of Croatia have about 6000 and their list is kept by the Information Commissioner. This list is publicly available on the link http://tjv.pristupinfo.hr.

  1. Make sure information is already publicly available on the Internet site of public authorities that have information under their jurisdiction
  2. f the information is not publicly available, consult the list of public authorities http://tjv.pristupinfo.hr and find out the contacts of the information officer in the body of public authority from whom you want information, or bodies that you think possess information.
  3. You can make a request for access to information in a written or verbal way
  4. f your application is rejected or rejected or the public authority does not decide on your request within the statutory deadline, you may file a complaint with the Information Commissioner through the first instance body or the immediate Commissioner (Silence Administration).
  5. You can file a lawsuit against the High Court’s decision against the decision of the Information Commissioner, as well as when the Information Commissioner does not resolve the appeal within the statutory time limit.

If information is required under the law (Articles 10, 11 and 12), and has not been disclosed by the public authorities, the user can also file a request to the Information Commissioner.

Gain access to information

Information is any information held by a body of public authority in the form of a document, record, file, register or in any other form, irrespective of the way it is displayed (written, drawn, printed, recorded, magnetic, optical, electronic or any other record ).

According to the aforementioned provision, the information may be a document, a photograph, a movie, an audio track, a table, a graph or any other data record, and it is important that the public authority body has the information it needs, whether or not they have been created or collected within its regular activity.

The user of the right of access to information and reuse of information is any domestic or foreign natural or legal person.

The user is entitled to access information by submitting an oral or written request to the competent authority of the public authority.

If an application is filed orally or by telephone, an official note will be drawn up and, if submitted through electronic communications, a written request will be considered.

The written request contains:

  • the name and seat of the public authority body to which the request is based,
  • information that is important for the recognition of the information required,
  • name and surname and address of the applicant’s physical person, company, or the name of the legal person and its head office.

The applicant is not required to state the reasons for which he or she is seeking access to information nor is it obliged to apply for the application of this Act.

Access to information in proceedings before public authorities is not subject to administrative and court fees.

Based on the request for access to information, the body of public authority shall decide no later than 15 days from the date of submission of the due request.

The deadlines for exercising the right of access to information may be extended by 15 days from the date on which the public authority body was required to decide on the request for access to information: if the information has to be requested outside the headquarters of the public authorities if one request requires a large number of different information, if this is necessary to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the required information, or if it is necessary to carry out a test of proportionality and public interest.

On the extension of the deadlines, the public authority shall without delay notify the applicant at the latest within eight days from the date of receipt of the due process request and state the reasons why that deadline has been extended.

If the user feels that the information provided on the basis of the request is incorrect or complete, he may require its correction or amendment within 15 days of the date of receipt of the information. The authority of the public authority is obliged to decide on the request for amendment or correction of the information within 15 days from the date of receipt of the request.

The request for access to information is not considered to be an insight into the entire case file, explanations or instructions related to the exercise of a right or obligation to perform, the analysis or interpretation of a regulation or the creation of new information.

In the case of incomplete or unreasonable request, the public authority shall without delay invite the user to correct it within five days of receiving the call for correction. If the claimant fails to correct the claim in an appropriate way, and on the basis of the submitted information it can not be established with certainty what the requested information is about, the public authority will reject the request by a decision.

The application of the Right to Access to Information Act is excluded (Article 1) when it comes to submissions to parties (and their equal persons) in judicial, administrative and other law-based procedures that provide access to information from these proceedings by a regulation.

In addition, the law does not apply to information that is subject to confidentiality, in accordance with the law governing the security and intelligence system of the Republic of Croatia, as well as information that represents classified information held by an international organization or other state, and classified information of public authorities or are exchanged within the framework of cooperation with international organizations or other countries.

The general deadline for deciding on the application is 15 days from the receipt of a due request. In certain cases, the time limit for the decision on the application may be extended for 15 days, counting from the day the public authority body was to decide on the request for access to the information,

  • if the information has to be sought outside the headquarters of the public authorities,
  • if one request requests a greater number of different information,
  • if this is necessary to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the information requested, or
  • if it is necessary to carry out a test of proportionality and public interest.

The public authority shall be obliged to inform the applicant of the extension of the deadline without delay and at the latest within eight days from the date of receipt of the due process request and state the reasons.

If the requested information or part of it contains some of the constraints prescribed by the law, the public authority body must carry out a test of proportionality and public interest in which to state the reasons for the refusal or the provision of information, depending on whether the need to protect legitimate interests or the interest of knows. It is not obligatory to do so only in the case of information from the previous and criminal proceedings when it is obliged to reject the request.

The possibility of restricting access to information exists in the following cases:

  • if classified information is concerned if the information is a business or professional secret
  • if the information is a tax secret
  • if the information is personal information that the information is protected by intellectual property, except in the case of express consent of the owner of the right
  • if access to information is restricted to international treaties, or information has emerged in the process of concluding or entering into international agreements or negotiations with other States or international organizations, until the completion of such proceedings or information arising out of the maintenance of diplomatic relations; in other legally prescribed cases

Public authorities can restrict access to information and in some other cases, if there are grounds for suspicion that disclosure could include:

  • to prevent effective, impartial and impartial conduct of judicial, administrative or other legal proceedings, execution of a court decision or punishment
  • to disable the work of bodies that perform administrative oversight, inspection supervision, or supervision of legality
  • if it is about information that is being drafted within one or more public authorities, and its disclosure before the completion of complete and final information could seriously undermine the process of its creation
  • if it is information that has arisen in the process of harmonization in the adoption of regulations and other acts and in the exchange of views and opinions within one or more public authorities, its disclosure could lead to erroneous interpretation of the information content, endanger the process of adopting regulations and acts or freedom of giving opinions and expressing attitudes

An appeal may be filed against the decision of the state administration body within 15 days from the date of delivery of the decision. An appeal can also be filed even if the body of public authority, within the prescribed period, does not decide on the applicant’s request.

The appeal should contain your information (name and surname, address or name of legal person and headquarters) and must be signed (personally or by authorized person, if it is a legal entity). If you have submitted an electronic form, you do not have an electronic signature, you can scan the signed appeal and send it electronically. Your address or headquarters of legal entities is required so that the Commissioner can submit your decision.

In the appeal, you need to state the solution you dispute, the name of the public authority body that the decision has brought and for which you are satisfied with the solution.

The appeal is normally filed by the public authorities that you originally responded to the request for access to information. If the appeal is submitted directly to the Information Commission, consider that the complaint is returned to the first-instance body for consideration, thereby extending the proceedings.

When new facts and new evidence are put forward in the appeal, the party is required to explain why the facts and evidence did not appear during the first-instance proceedings.

We recommend that we request a receipt for the appeal.

The basic deadline for appealing is 30 days.

The deadlines are longer in two cases: if a test of proportionality and public interest is to be examined or conducted for resolution, then the deadline is 60 days; if it is necessary to seek the opinion of the Office of the National Security Council and it is classified information, the deadline for resolution is 90 days.

The Commissioner delivers his decision through the authority of the public authority from which the information was requested.

Against the Commissioner’s decision as well as in the case of termination of the Commission’s term of office, you have the right to initiate an Administrative dispute before the High Administrative Court;
Find out about the decisions of the Commissioner and the High Court of Justice in the Decisions and opinions search.

Publicity of work

Public authorities are obliged to provide the public with the means to inform the public of the agenda of the sessions or sessions of the official bodies and the time of their maintenance, the manner of work and the possibilities for immediate insight into their work (attendance of the sessions), as well as the number of persons simultaneously assured of immediate attendance at sessions whereby the order of registration must be taken into account.

Public authorities are not obliged to provide direct insight into their work when it comes to matters where the law is to be excluded by the law, that is, information on which there are restrictions on access to the law.

This obligation primarily applies to state bodies and representative bodies of local and regional self-government units as well as other public authorities when justified.

Citizens can file a petition with the Information Commissioner if he finds irregularities in securing the public’s work.

Proactive disclosure of information

Public authorities are obliged to publish, ex officio and on a pro-active basis, information important for their work and organization. This legal obligation is based on the principle that citizens have the right to know how they decide on their behalf and what the results and outcomes of those decisions or, for example, how the public authorities spend public money.

Public authorities are required to publish a large part of their information on their work on their official website, in an easily searchable way and in a machine readable form, as stipulated in Article 10, paragraph 1 of the Right of Access to Information Act. The proper fulfillment of the obligation of proactive disclosure of information, which represents a specific foundation for the transparency of the work of the public authorities, has a double effect: the greater the degree of its fulfillment, the smaller the number of individual requests for access to information, which facilitates the work of the public authorities; Also, the need for additional administration and engagement of information officers regarding the processing of requests for access to information is diminished, since in the case of disclosed information, the public authority body of the beneficiary should be informed that the information is publicly disclosed and provided with a link to the information published on the web site. And most importantly – users gain access quickly, free and effectively and in the same way.

Article 10 of the Law provides the information that the public authorities should publish on their website, which can be fundamentally divided into several groups, with the aim of achieving:

the public authorities are obliged to publish the general acts and decisions that the bodies adopt, affecting the interests of the user, and the reasons for their adoption; draft laws and other regulations and general acts for which a public consultation procedure is conducted, in accordance with Article 11 of the Law, as well as conclusions from official sessions of public authorities and official documents adopted at these sessions as information on the work of formal working bodies on which decides on the rights and interests of users.

the public authorities are obliged to publish laws and other regulations relating to their field of work, then annual plans, programs, strategies, instructions, work reports, financial reports and other relevant documents pertaining to the scope of work of the public authorities, tender documents, documentation required for participation in the bidding process, and information on the outcome of the bidding process as well as information on the internal organization of the public authorities, with the names of the head of the body and the head of the organizing units and their contact details;

the public authorities are obliged to disclose data on the source of financing, budget, financial plan or other appropriate document for determining the revenues and expenditures of the public authorities, as well as data and reports on the execution of the budget, financial plan or other appropriate document, information on the granting of grants, sponsorships , donations or other assistance, including the list of beneficiaries and amounts, information on public procurement procedures, bidding documents, contract performance information and other information for which publication obligation is required under the law regulating public procurement;

the public authorities are obliged to publish information on public services provided by the public authority in a visible place, with links to those electronically, registers and databases or information on registers and databases under the authority of public authorities, as well as information about the manner of access and re-use, information on the manner and conditions of the exercise of the right of access to information and the re-use of information at a visible location, contact information for information officers, forms required or forms links and the amount of fee for access to information and reuse of information, Feasibility Criteria, Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, Information on the Methods of Submitting Citizens and Media Queries, as well as other information (news, press releases, activity data) for the purpose of informing the public about the work and exercising the rights and performing the obligations of the user.

The obligation of proactive disclosure does not apply to information whose access is restricted under the Act.

Citizens may file a petition with the Information Commissioner if he or she notices any irregularities in a proactive announcement or the omission of disclosure of information that is required by the law of the public authorities.

A special form of proactive disclosure of information is the obligation of the public authorities (bodies of state administration and other state bodies, legal entities established by the Republic of Croatia by law or by-law or whose establishment explicitly provides, and units of local and regional self-government) to comply with Article 10a of the Act for the purpose of permanent availability of information, submits certain information (documents) electronically to the Central Catalog of Official Documents of the Republic of Croatia for their permanent availability.

The information for which the obligation to deliver is general acts and decisions made by public authorities, affecting the interests of users, the reasons for their adoption (Article 10, paragraph 1, item 2) and annual plans, programs, strategies , instructions, reports, financial reports and other relevant documents relating to the scope of work of the public authorities (Article 10, paragraph 1, item 2). The Central Catalog also includes laws and other regulations and acts published in the Official Gazette.

The Central Catalog and Method of Organization Management is regulated by a special Rulebook on the Central Catalog of Official Documents of the Republic of Croatia (NN 124/2015), http://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2015_11_124_2356.html

The Central Directory is headed by the Central State Office for the Development of the Digital Society

CENTRAL CATALOG OF OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS