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Home » Archive » The U.S. Freedom Of Information Act In Light Of The 2016 Reform: Some Theoretical Issues

Marco Lunardelli
The U.S. Freedom Of Information Act In Light Of The 2016 Reform: Some Theoretical Issues
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The purpose of this Article is to analyze the U.S. federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in light of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. The Article starts by looking over the FOIA as a model for other legal systems in administrative transparency. After outlining the history of the enactment of the FOIA, the inspection deals with possible reasons for the widespread success of the FOIA abroad. Furthermore, it leads to pinpointing some paradoxes deriving from the implementation of this model in other countries. Subsequently, the Article addresses the FOIA Improvement Act. Firstly, it overviews the amendments. Secondly, it renders an assessment of their implications for the FOIA. However, only the amendments more closely related to the disclosure of records and information are considered. Special attention is devoted to disclosure, meant as a general category encompassing both proactive disclosure – thus, a subcategory – and access upon request. The Article argues that it is incumbent on scholars to make sure that there be no confusion between those concepts. Finally, the codification of the presumption of openness and the amendment brought to Exemption 5 to the FOIA are also addressed. While the former issue appears to be less problematic from a theoretical perspective, the latter raises some issues especially as for the scope of the time limit to applying the exemption.

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