Volume 46 (2009) / Issue 2
Dariusz Adamski, 'How wide is “the widest possible”? Judicial interpretation of the exceptions to the right of access to official documents revisited' (2009) 46 Common Market Law Review, Issue 2, pp. 521–549
Both the growing body of jurisprudence on access to documents held by the European Parliament, Council and Commission, and the pending process of amending Regulation 1049/2001 encourage (re)assessment of the current and past court decisions delineating boundaries of this accountability enhancing right. As a contribution to the discussion, the article explores judicial interpretation of exceptions to the access right, in order to assess how the case–law fits into the main principle of the regime established by the Regulation 1049/2001—of ensuring the widest possible access to official documents. The analysis covers the main categories of the exceptions: mandatory, discretionary, relating to the protection of the decision–making process and to documents originating from Member States. In particular it focuses on controversies raised by court decisions granting the institutions broad discretion in deciding on access requests. In conclusion the author makes a case for a more uniform interpretation of the exceptions and suggests a reform agenda.
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