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Applying the Law

As a first step towards applying the law, governments will need set in place the infrastructure necessary to facilitate information access. This will include establishing codes and procedures within each government department to receive and process applications and appeals, as well as guidance on how to interpret with the exemption clauses under the law. Departments may want to consider issuing guidance notes, procedures manuals and user's guides for public authorities on interpreting and applying different aspects of the law.

Processing Applications and Appeals

Interpreting Exemptions

Processing Applications and Appeals

Under most right to information laws, specific officers within each body covered by the law are responsible for receiving and managing RTI applications and appeals . In jurisdictions around the world, different procedures and rules have been implemented to process, manage and track information requests and appeals. Guidance notes and practice manuals have also been produced to provide officers with a simple reference tool to assist them to apply the law properly.

Interpreting Exemptions

Although the principle of maximum disclosure underpins all RTI laws, it is recognised that the right to information is not absolute. Not all information can be disclosed to the public particularly if it relates to sensitive information falling under exemption provisions" or "exclusion clauses" under the law. In jurisdictions across the world guidelines have been produced to assist officials to apply the various exemptions available under their law. These guidance notes cover topics such as:

Public Interest Override

Exemptions

General

National security

International relations

Economic Interests

Law Enforcement & Investigations

Cabinet & Other Internal Government Papers

Confidential Business Information

Courts or Tribunals

Privacy

Parliamentary Privilege