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Desislava Krasteva (bTV) v. the Administrative Court – Varna

Case number:
572/2008
Country:
Bulgaria
Date of decision:
5 January 2009
Court / Arbiter:
Administrative Court of Dobrich ( First instance )

Relevant law :

Decision:

Information in a court file was ordered disclosed because of allegations that the information was relevant to establishing that the chairperson of the court had accepted bribes, and bribery by a judicial officer is related to pubic life.


Keywords:
Court papers (including case files, court orders)
Judiciary or quasi-judicial body
Open government principles (including accountability, anti-corruption, democracy, participation in government, transparency)
Public interest (including public interest override, information of public interest)
RTI law
Scope of information covered

Case details:

Facts

A television news reporter, Desislava Krasteva, filed a request pursuant to the Access to Public Information Act (APIA) with the Chairperson of the Administrative Court in the town of Varna for access to documents contained in the file of a 2008 case from the same court. The reporter requested the information because of allegations that the former Chairperson had accepted bribes. The Chairperson of the Court reviewed and denied the request on the ground that the request was not for public information, as required by Article 2 of APIA. Initially the refusal was challenged before the same Administrative Court but was promptly sent to the Administrative Court of another town (Dobrich) for review.

Decision

The Court invalidated the refusal of the Chairperson and ordered the Administrative Court of Varna to provide access to the information in the case file. The Court reasoned that because there were allegations of bribery surrounding the Varna court’s former Chairperson, the information contained in the file was related to public life and assumed the character of public information. The Court noted that Bulgarian society has reached a stage of development at which there is a high public interest in, and intolerance towards, the possibility of corruption in state authorities.

Resources:

Judgment of the Court.

More information about the case.