Reference : The Principle of Transparency and Access to Documents in the EU: for what, for whom, ...
Parts of books : Contribution to collective works
Law, criminology & political science : Public law
Law / European Law
The Principle of Transparency and Access to Documents in the EU: for what, for whom, and of what?
Mendes, Joana mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Law Research Unit >]
Traité de Droit Administratif
Auby, Jean-Bernard
Jacqueline, Dutheil de la Rochère
[en] This chapter characterizes transparency as an ambivalent principle of EU law and governance, serving both a functional and a democratic rationale. The analysis focuses on the right of access to documents, a right whose scope and democratic function very much depend on who requests and on the interpretation of the exceptions to access. While the former is a matter of practice, the latter is essentially the result of the main approaches that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has followed hitherto: strict interpretation and application of the exceptions, on the one hand, and general presumptions of non-disclosure, on the other. The paper presents both. It argues that, while much criticized in the literature as contrary to the democratic function of the regulation on access to documents, general presumptions of non-disclosure merit a more nuanced analysis. They can be, under restricted circumstances, a way to protect the democratic function of the citizen’s right to access. Yet, the uncertain and evolving criteria for the establishment of a general presumption of non-disclosure have effectively carved out whole categories of documents from the possibility of access, insulating significant sections of EU public action from the pressure of democratic claims. Overall, the right of access to documents, as ancillary to a principle of democracy, has a limited capacity to change the nature of the polity and of the system of governance in which it is embedded. {Note: Written in December 2019 as a chapter for the third edition of the Traité de Droit Administratif Européen, directed by Jacqueline Dutheil de la Rochère and Jean Bernard Auby, published in 2022}

File(s) associated to this reference

Fulltext file(s):

Open access
Mendes_chapter_Jan2020.pdfAuthor preprint495.01 kBView/Open

Bookmark and Share SFX Query

All documents in ORBilu are protected by a user license.