Lodging of complaints with the Commissioner
An applicant (a citizen, a journalist, the media etc.) can lodge a complaint with the Commissioner in the following cases:
1. If a public authority refuses to inform the applicant whether it holds the requested information or whether it is otherwise accessible to it, refuses to allow insight in the document containing the requested information, refuses to issue or to submit to the applicant a copy of the document (depending on what has been requested), or fails to do so within the general statutory deadline of 15 days. It is a complaint against the so-called “silence” of authorities.
For exceptionally justified reasons, the deadline for response of a public authority may be 40 days from the date of filing of a request, it being understood that the authority must notify an applicant thereof immediately upon receipt of the request.
In case of information of importance for the protection of life or freedom of a person or threats to or protection of public health and the environment, the deadline for response of an authority is 48 hours.
An applicant will enclose with a complaint lodged with the Commissioner for “silence” of authorities a copy of the request filed to a public authority and evidence of its submission or sending. Such complaint can be lodged upon expiry of the statutory deadline for response of an authority of 15 days and if the applicant receives requested information in the meantime after lodging the complaint, he/she can withdraw the complaint lodged with the Commissioner.
2. A complaint can also be lodged with the Commissioner against a decision of a public authority denying an applicant’s request or against a conclusion rejecting his/her request from formal reasons. The deadline for lodging of a complaint in this case is 15 days from the date of submission of a decision or a conclusion to an applicant. An applicant must enclose with such complaint a copy of his/her request and a copy of the decision or conclusion of a public authority against which the complaint is lodged.
Filing charges with the Administrative Court
Complaints cannot be lodged with the Commissioner against decisions of the National Assembly, the President of the Republic of Serbia, the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the Supreme Court of Cassation of Serbia, the Constitutional Court and the Republic Public Prosecutor passed in a procedure of deciding on the right to access information or against failure of these authorities to act on a request. In such cases, judicial redress is ensured in administrative proceedings in the Administrative Court of Serbia and an applicant can file charges with the Administrative Court within 30 days of the date of submission of a decision.
An applicant can also file charges with the Administrative Court if one of the six public authorities listed above fails to act on a request within statutory deadline, it being understood that in such cases the Court requires that another formal condition under the Law on Administrative Proceedings be met, namely that the applicant resubmits the request to the authority concerned and the latter fails to reply within a further deadline of seven days upon repeated request.
An applicant can also file charges with the Administrative Court if he/she is not satisfied with the Commissioner’s decision passed following his/her complaint.