Note on appeals to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine with a request for information
The procedure for appealing to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (hereinafter - the Constitutional Court or the Court) with a request for information is established by the Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information” of January 13, 2011 № 2939 – VI (hereinafter - the Law). The following should be taken into account when preparing a request for information to the Constitutional Court.
- Article 19.1 of the Law stipulates that
In accordance with Article 1.1 of the Law, “public information shall mean information that is reflected and documented by any means and information medium and which was received or created in the process of performance by subjects of public authority of their duties envisaged in the legislation in force or which is in possession of the subjects of public authority, other administrators of public information determined by this Law”.
The powers of the Constitutional Court are established by Articles 147, 150, 151, 151-1 of the Constitution of Ukraine and Article 7 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine” of July 13, 2017 № 2136 – VIII. The powers of the Court shall include: deciding on conformity to the Constitution of Ukraine (constitutionality) of laws of Ukraine and other legal acts of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, acts of the President of Ukraine, acts of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, legal acts of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea; official interpretation of the Constitution of Ukraine; providing opinions on conformity to the Constitution of Ukraine of applicable international treaties of Ukraine or those international treaties that are submitted to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for its consent to their binding nature; providing opinions on conformity to the Constitution of Ukraine (constitutionality) of the questions to be put to an all-Ukrainian referendum on a popular initiative; providing opinion on the observance, within the limits established by Articles 111 and 151 of the Constitution of Ukraine, of the constitutional procedure for investigating and considering a case on removal of the President of Ukraine from office through impeachment; deciding on conformity to the Constitution of Ukraine (constitutionality) of laws of Ukraine (specific provisions thereof), upon a constitutional complaint of an individual who considers that the law of Ukraine applied in the final court judgment in his or her case contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine.
To learn more about the powers of the Constitutional Court and the procedure for appealing to it by citizens and legal entities, please visit the official website of the Constitutional Court (www.ccu.gov.ua).
Thus, the Constitutional Court may provide only information created by it as a result of constitutional proceedings (decisions, opinions and rulings of the Court) and in the exercise of its other powers defined by law (reference information on the Constitutional Court, reports, acts adopted by the Court and its officials to comply with the relevant provisions of applicable law), except for information to which access is restricted in accordance with applicable law.
- Requirements for requests for information preparation are set out in Article 19 of the Law.
A requester shall have the right to address the information administrator with information request regardless of whether this information concerns him/her personally or not and without having to explain the reasons for submitting the request.
Information request may be individual or collective. Requests may be submitted orally, in writing or in other form (by mail, fax, phone, email) as chosen by the requester.
A request for information may be submitted to the Constitutional Court:
- to the postal address: 14, Zhylianska street, Kyiv, 01033;
- to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- by fax: (044) 238-13-37;
- by phone: (044) 238-10-30, 238-11-17, 238-11-19.
A written request may be submitted in any form.
Information request shall contain:
- the name of the requester, postal address or e-mail, as well as the number of communications means if available;
- general description of information or type, name, number or content of the requested document, if the requester knows it;
- signature and date if the request is submitted in writing.
To simplify the procedure for preparing written information requests, a person may submit a request by filling relevant forms of information requests which can be obtained from the information administrator on the official web-site of the Court in the section "Access to Public Information" (subsections "Requests for information" and "Forms").
In case of substantive reasons (disability, limited physical ability, etc.) a person cannot submit a written request, it shall be prepared by the responsible person for the issues of access to public information indicating his/her name, contact phone, and a copy must be provided to the requester.
Some issues of providing public information by the Constitutional Court on requests for information
1. Requests for clarification on the practical application of the legislation, as well as on the situations that arise in this case, concern information not related to the powers of the Constitutional Court, therefore, do not meet the requirements of the Law and may not be satisfied.
2. The Constitutional Court shall provide an official interpretation of the Constitution of Ukraine not on requests for information, but upon the constitutional petitions of the relevant subjects of the right to such petitions, which are executed in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine”.
3. The Constitutional Court may not provide information that has limited access in accordance with Articles 6, 9 of the Law and the Order of the Chairman of the Constitutional Court "On approval of the List of information constituting official information of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine" № 10/1/2017-OD of February 2, 2017. A list of such documents and information is contained in the annexes to this order, which is available on the Court's official website in the "Information Requests" subsection of the "Access to Public Information" section.
4. Reference information on the activity of the Constitutional Court shall be posted on its official website in the relevant sections. A request for information concerning the provision of any other data, which involves the creation of new information through appropriate analytical, comparative studies, etc., cannot be granted, as the Law does not provide for the obligation of the authority to create information at the request of the requester.
5. Requests for information that could be defined substantively as complaints on decisions, actions or omissions of public authorities, bodies of local self-government, other institutions and organisations, as well as individuals, or contain a request to verify their activities, to assess the legitimacy of their decisions and actions may not be satisfied. Such requests concern information that has not been created and therefore does not meet the requirements of the Law. In addition, such information is not related to issues under the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.
- According to the Law, information administrator must provide a reply to the information request not later than five working days from the date of receipt of the request. If the request requires providing a big scope of information or requires search within a large amount of data, the information administrator may extend the term for consideration of the request to 20 working days with substantiation of such extension.
The information shall be provided free of charge. In case the reply to the information request requires making photocopies of documents of more than 10 pages, the requester shall be obliged to compensate the factual expenses for copying and printing (Article 21.2 of the Law).
The amount of actual costs for copying or printing documents provided upon request for information is defined in Annex 5 to the Regulation on access to public information in the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, approved by the Order of the Chairman of the Constitutional Court "On approval of the Regulation on access to public information in the Constitutional Court of Ukraine" № 8/1/2016-OD of February 8, 2016 (posted on the official website of the Court in the section “Access to Public Information” under the heading “Public Information”).
- According to Article 23 of the Law, decisions, actions or omissions of information administrators may be appealed to the administrator’s superior official, a higher authority or court.
Appeals to court against decisions, actions or omissions of information administrators shall be carried out in accordance with the Code of Administrative Proceedings of Ukraine.
Procedure for appealing against decisions of the information administrator, its actions or omissions
According to Article 23 of the Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information”, actions or omissions of Secretariat employees regarding access to public information may be appealed to the Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine or to a court.
Complaints are considered in the manner and within the time limits specified by the Law of Ukraine "On Citizens' Appeals".
In case of appealing against the actions or omissions of the Head of the Secretariat of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, the answer to the complaint shall be submitted under the signature of the Chairman of the Court.
Employees of the Secretariat guilty of violating the requirements of the Law of Ukraine "On Access to Public Information" are liable under current legislation of Ukraine.