You have the right to access information contained in an official document if the information concerns you personally and granting access to such information is not contrary to important private or public interests.
- In this context, important private interests may concern the protection of privacy (such as details of illnesses), safety of an individual, or the protection of trade secrets.
- Important public interests may concern such issues as external threats to state security.
- Furthermore, a public authority may not be able to provide details of a document when the matter is still pending. In that case, the public authority in question may provide details of the matter at its discretion.
If you are a party to the matter, the public authority processing the matter must also grant you access to the non-public contents of the document that may influence or may have influenced the consideration of your case.
A party to the matter means the applicant, appellant or other persons whose rights, interests or obligations the matter concerns. The party to the matter may be a natural person or a legal person (association, company or other corporation). A public body or its organ can also be a party to the matter if the matter concerns its interests, rights or obligations.
However, a person who is a party to the matter does not have the right to access a document if granting access to this document would be contrary to important public interests, the interests of a minor or other important private interests.
Moreover, a person who is a party to the matter can only be granted access to presentation memoranda, draft decisions or similar documents produced for the preparation of a matter after the public authority in question has considered the matter.
Read more: Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), Section 11 – Parties’ right of access, and Section 12 – Access to a document pertaining to the individual (pdf, unofficial translation)