Right of access to documents: what does it mean?
European citizens and any other natural or legal person residing or having a registered office in a Member State have, subject to certain principles, conditions and limits, a right of access to documents produced or held by Eurojust, as well as all EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies.
These principles are:
- General, unconditional right of access for everyone; applicants do not need to justify their requests.
- Right of access applies to any document that relates to policies, activities and decisions falling within the responsibility of Eurojust, and includes all publication formats and media.
- Access to Eurojust documents can only be refused in exceptional circumstances (for more information, see below), and any refusal of access must be fully justified in accordance with Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and the Council which applies to documents held by Eurojust by virtue of Article 74(1) of the Eurojust Regulation. Classified documents are subject to special conditions.
- Exceptions may only be made after evaluation on a case-by-case basis.
- Eurojust must offer the widest possible access to documents. The possibility of partial access must also be considered.
How do I request access?
Direct access to documents via the Eurojust Public Register
Eurojust has a Public Register that can be used to access documents, containing press releases and documents related to public tenders and recruitment. The Document library section of this website also lists the most important Eurojust documents (legal framework, annual reports, etc.) in an accessible format and with translations if available.
Access by individual application
If a document drawn up or held by Eurojust has not been published or cannot be downloaded from the Public Register, an individual can ask Eurojust for access directly.
Who can apply?
Any citizen of the European Union and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State can make a request.
How do I make an application?
You can request access to a document in writing by e-mail, post or fax, addressing your application to the Head of the Legal Affairs Unit at Eurojust, or by completing the online contact form.
How long does an application take?
The procedure can take up to 15 working days from registration. This deadline can be extended by a further 15 working days in exceptional circumstances.
When will access be granted; when will it be refused?
The principle is that the widest possible access to all documents held by Eurojust should be granted, with refusal only occurring in exceptional circumstances (for more information, consult Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001). If an exception is justified, it will be examined to see whether it applies to the whole document or whether partial access to a document can be granted.
What if my request for access to documents is refused or partially refused?
In this scenario, it may be possible to make a ‘confirmatory’ application (i.e. a second request) to Eurojust. Processing this can also take up to 15 working days, and, in exceptional cases, up to 30 working days.
For further details on the principles, conditions and limitations of right of access, please refer to Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. Under Article 74(2) of the Eurojust Regulation, the Executive Board shall, within six months of the date of its first meeting, prepare the detailed rules for applying Regulation (EC) 1049/2001 for adoption by the College.