Updated FOIA Regulation Template and Guidance Now Available

Sep 16, 2016

On September 7th, the Office of Information Policy (OIP) released an updated version of its Guidance for Agency Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Regulations, along with an updated FOIA Regulation Template. These resources were first issued in March 2016. OIP has updated them to take into account changes made to the FOIA by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 and by recent court decisions.

Freedom of Information Act homepage.

As described in OIP’s guidance, while many of the FOIA’s requirements are contained directly in the statute and do not need implementing regulations, there are areas where the FOIA specifically requires each agency to publish regulations and still other areas where regulations are permitted. Moreover, there are aspects of FOIA administration that can be addressed in FOIA regulations as a matter of good practice.

The updates to the guidance and accompanying template for agency FOIA regulations include:

  • Notifications to requesters of assistance from FOIA Public Liaisons and the Office of Government Information Services,
  • Ninety-day minimum time period to file an administrative appeal,
  • Procedures for dispute resolution, and
  • Limitations on assessing certain fees and the exceptions to those limitations.

The updates also reflect recent judicial decisions of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit pertaining to two fee categories, representative of the news media and educational institution.

OIP encourages all agencies to consult the guidance and sample language from the template to the extent feasible as they update their FOIA regulations. OIP will continue to update these resources as needed to reflect changes in law and policy.

This post was originally published on the Department of Justice blog.