EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS REGULATION: European Court of Justice: Case T-452/09 before the General Court - ClientEarth v. Council of the European Union


EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS REGULATION: European Court of Justice: Case T-452/09 before the General Court - ClientEarth v. Council of the European Union (pdf). This case taken by Client Earth concerns the refusal of access to the advice of the Council of the European Union's Legal Service on the European Parliament's amendments to the European Commission's proposals to change the EU Regulation on access to documents (1049/2001) because it:

"failed to explain how full disclosure would damage the protection of legal advice, in particular in the light of the Turco judgment of the Court of Justice." See Turco judgment full-text (pdf) and on which the Court's press release had said:

"The Court takes the view that disclosure of documents containing the advice of an institution’s legal service on legal questions arising when legislative initiatives are being debated increases transparency and strengthens the democratic right of European citizens to scrutinise the information which has formed the basis of a legislative act."

The released version of the Council's Legal Service is massively censored containing no information on the issues: Opinion of the Legal Service (dated 17 February 2009, pdf). However, the substantive point in the Council Legal Service's Opinion was clearly stated in Council document no: 7791/09 (pdf). The Council Legal Service argued that the EP could amend the Commission proposals but could not introduce new amendments of its own - thus rejecting 27 EP amendments. The Opinion of the Legal Service of the European Parliament's (EP): Opinion on the EPs' amendments (issued in 14 April 2009, pdf) took on, and rejected, the arguments used by the Council Legal Service. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "The opinion of the Council's Legal Service was an "open" secret."

 

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