Recently, I took part in a large, international investigative journalistic project on dumps of oily waste water by ships. In that context, I did a FOIA request to the Dutch government. Whereas the journalists that partook in the same investigation received the relevant documents pretty quickly in their respective countries when they sent out a similar request, I haven't received the information I asked for even after 8 months and a legal procedure with the administrative judge - who decided in my favour.

The inadequate response from the Dutch government in this case got me wondering about whether any systematic, academic research has been done on the comparative performance of FOIA response speeds by different European countries. I've tried finding recent and relevant scientific literature about this topic on - for instance - Google Scholar, but to no avail.

Question: are there any academic research papers that compare the response speed and adequateness of FOIA requests in different European countries, preferably including the Netherlands?

1 Answer 1


One should consult a database of scholarly articles and conduct a literature research.

If you search for ( Title: ( FOIA AND Europe* ) OR ( Abstract: ( FOIA AND Europe* ) OR ( Keyword: ( FOIA AND Europe* ) OR Field of Study: ( FOIA AND Europe* ) ) ) ) at LENS.org, you find 26 articles in academic venues. (For a more thorough search, you could replace "FOIA" with "Freedom of Information".)

The most relevant source seems to be an edited volume called The Laws of Transparency in Action: A European Perspective. This book "[p]rovides comparative and empirical data on the implementation of Freedom of Information laws (FOIAs) across, Western, Southern Central and Eastern Europe".

Since that book seems to provide a perspective from various countries per chapter, written by distinct authors, I am not sure to what extent one may regard it as a strictly comparative study (with a uniform goal, a single method, with coordinated analyses etc.), but it may offer a first step.

This thesis sound relevant too, but it is in Spanish (and just a thesis and not a publication in a peer-reviewed outlet).

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