Starting on 1 January 2019, government administrations and departments are required to publish their documents online, either on their own websites or on the Luxembourgish data platform (www.data.public.lu).
This procedure is the implementation of a policy of openness to the citizens (be they natural or legal persons) in reference to the documents held by:
- government administrations and departments;
- communes and associations of communes;
- public-sector establishments under the authority of the State or commune;
- legal persons providing public services;
- the Chamber of Deputies;
- the Council of State;
- the Ombudsman;
- the Court of Auditors;
- the professional chambers.
When a document is amended, the published version must be updated.
Who is concerned
Who is concerned
Natural and legal persons can access the documents held by government administrations and departments, communes and associations of communes, public-sector establishments under the authority of the State, etc., if those documents relate to the exercise of an administrative activity.
Any natural or legal person has the legal right to request the communication of accessible documents:
- regardless of the medium of the document; and
- without having to assert a personal interest.
Documents in question
This right is applicable only to administrative documents pertaining to the exercise of an administrative activity. Examples include circulars, activity reports, studies, statistics, minutes and reports of administrative council meetings, etc.
This right does not apply to documents pertaining to:
- foreign relations, Luxembourg national security or public order;
- people's safety or their right to privacy;
- the conduct of proceedings before the judiciary, before extrajudicial or disciplinary bodies, or operations carried out prior to the start of such proceedings;
- prevention, detection or prosecution of punishable offences;
- intellectual property rights;
- a legally protected secret or confidential matters;
- the administrative bodies’ remit of oversight, verification and regulation;
- the confidential nature of business/trade information communicated to those bodies;
- the ability of the administrative bodies to implement their economic, financial, fiscal and trade policy, if publishing the documents could hamper the related decision-making processes;
- confidentiality of discussions within the Government.
In principle, these documents are provided free of charge. However, a Grand-Ducal regulation may specify a fee that must be paid where copies of a document are issued. However, that fee may not exceed the true cost of copying, printing and sending the document.
How to proceed
Filing an application
Anyone wishing to request the disclosure of a document may do so:
- through MyGuichet.lu; or
- in writing.
In the document request form, the applicant:
- selects the administrative body to which they wish to send the request;
- provides a precise description of the document, either as a free text or using a standard form available from the body in question.
Only the individuals in question may access documents containing:
- their personal data;
- an assessment/value judgement of them;
- an opinion they expressed in confidence to the body. In this case, the person who produced the document will need to waive its confidentiality.
When the requested documents contain personal data or an assessment/value judgement of other people, either explicitly named or easily identifiable (third parties), the administration will disclose them to the applicant if:
- it is possible to redact or extract those third parties' information at no extra cost;
- the third parties have consented, in writing, to such disclosure.
The disclosure application may be denied if it:
- relates to documents which are unfinished or still being drafted;
- relates to a document that has already been published, or which was produced for commercial purposes;
- is excessive in terms of its number, systematic nature or repetitiveness;
- relates to internal communications.
The requested document is sent to the applicant as quickly as possible, and no later than one month following the administration's receipt of the request:
- as a single paper copy;
- electronically, if:
- the document is available in electronic form; and
- the applicant has given their email address;
- for consultation on site, where reproduction would:
- damage the document and thus endanger its preservation; or
- be impossible given the nature of the document.
In certain cases, the allotted period may be extended to 2 months if:
- the volume and complexity of the requested documents are such that the one-month deadline cannot be met;
- the request is sent to an administrative body which does not have the document;
- the administrative body needs to redact or extract other people's personal data;
- the document has been filed in the National Archives;
- the administrative body needs to consult a third party.
The body is then required to:
- inform the applicant of the extension;
- indicate the reasons for the extension before the original one-month deadline expires.
Anyone whose disclosure request is denied may appeal against that decision. To do so, the applicant must apply to the Commission on the Access to Documents (Commission d’accès aux documents - CAD) for their assessment, within a month of the notification:
- through MyGuichet.lu; or
- in writing, in the form of a simple letter.
The applicant must:
- where applicable, provide the reference number of the request and, if they so desire, a free-form comment;
- attach the notification of the decision to deny disclosure.
The CAD will notify both the applicant and the administration of their decision within 2 months of the filing of the appeal.
If the CAD deems that the document in question may be disclosed and the administrative body decides to honour that judgement, it must disclose the document within a month of receiving notice of the decision. If not, it is deemed to have rejected the application.
If the CAD deems that the document may not be disclosed, then the administrative body must confirm its refusal to disclose the document within one month of receiving notice of the decision.
The CAD's decisions may not be appealed before the courts. Only the decision of the administrative body in light of the CAD's judgement may be appealed.
The appeal must be submitted to the administrative tribunal within 3 months. This deadline begins:
- in the absence of disclosure of a document that the CAD judged disclosable: after the expiry of the 1-month deadline, following notice of the decision, to disclose the document;
- as of the administrative body's confirmation of the refusal to disclose the document deemed not to be disclosable by the CAD;
- in the absence of confirmation of the refusal to disclose the document deemed not to be disclosable: after the expiry of the 1-month deadline, following notice of the decision, to confirm refusal to disclose the document.