Case: The protection of EPL’s right to environmental information.
Litigation: challenging the refusal of the State Enterprise “Ukrderzhbudekspertiza” to respond to a request for information and requesting the court to provide complete information.
Region: Ukraine, Kyiv.
Parties: Plaintiff – ICO “Environmental-People-Law”, defendant – State Enterprise “Ukrderzhbudekspertiza”.
The essence of the problem: business entities do not always understand their obligation to provide environmental information in response to a request for public information, and unlawfully refuse to provide such information.
In August 2016, the International Charitable Organization “Environmental-People-Law” addressed the State Enterprise “Specialized State Expert Organization – Central Service of the Ukrainian State Building Expertise” (abbreviated as the State Enterprise “Ukrderzhbudekspertiza”) with a request for information.
The request concerned a copy of the expert report of the landfill recultivation project prepared by the TPP “Girkhimprom”, developed by the defendant.
The State Enterprise “Ukrderzhbudekspertiza” confirmed the development of this expert report, but refused EPL to provide a copy of it, although this type of request relates to information that is public and publicly available.
The State Enterprise “Ukrderzhbudekspertiza” noted that, considering its economic and contractual obligations with the customer, the information contained in the expert report, contained the results of the examination of this project by “Girkhimprom” and it consists the information with limited access and can not be provided to EPL upon its request. This violated the right of EPL to access information guaranteed by the Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information”.
The refusal of the State Enterprise “Ukrderzhbydekspertiza” in satisfaction of the informational request is illegal for the following reasons:
1. The requested information could not be classified as information with restricted access (according to part 3 of Article 13 of the Law of Ukraine “On Information”, information on the state of the environment, except information on the location of military objects, can not be classified as restricted information)
2. The request for information concerns information of public interest (Article 29 of the Law of Ukraine “On Information”).
3. SE “Ukrderzhbudekspertiza” is the manager of information in the meaning of Art. 13 of the Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information”
– to acknowledge the unlawful refusal of the State Enterprise “Ukrderzhbudekspertiza” to provide an answer to the request for information from the ICO “Environmental-People-Law” of August 31, 2016 and to oblige SE “Ukrderzhbyekspertiza” to provide complete information on the specified request, namely: to provide a copy of the expert report No. 00-0861-13 (concerning the project of recultivation of Lviv landfill site, prepared by Girkhimprom LLC.
On May 29, 2017, the District Administrative Court of Kyiv satisfied EPL’s suit in part: declared unlawful the response of the State Enterprise “Ukrderzhbyekspertiza” refusing EPL to provide a copy of the expert report No. 00-0861-13 / concerning the project of recultivation of Lviv landfill site, developed by LLC “Girhimprom”, but instead of obliging the defendant to provide EPL with a copy of the report, the court ordered it to re-examine the request.
On July 25, 2017, the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the District Administrative Court of Kyiv dated May 29, 2017.
As a result, the EPL’s right was partially restored, in particular, access to environmental information was obtained, but no copy of the document containing such information was provided.
The court decision can be found at:
The decision of the court of first instance – http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/66788555
Appeal court decision – http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/69948316