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Court Decisions

Each year the federal courts issue hundreds of decisions in FOIA cases, addressing all aspects of the law.  These decisions shape the way the law is interpreted and applied by the many attorneys and access professionals across the government who handle FOIA requests, administrative appeals, and litigation.  To aid those professionals, and to facilitate greater understanding of the FOIA overall, OIP posts summaries of FOIA decisions to this website.

Although we have designed these summaries to reflect the key aspects of each decision, by their nature these are summaries only, and such things as internal citations and quotations have been omitted.  Our goal is to provide readers with an overview of the cases as they are decided during the year, but for a complete understanding of any given case readers are, of course, encouraged to read it in its entirety.

Using the Court Decisions Page

This website includes decisions decided since January 2013.  Summaries of decisions decided between May 2009 and December 2012 are available in the Court Decisions Archive.  All decisions are presented chronologically, based on the date of issuance, with the most recent decision appearing first.  Each decision is tagged topically with the relevant exemption or procedural consideration addressed.

  • View Decisions by Topic and Court

    You can view all decisions tagged with a particular topic or court by using the “View Court Decisions by Topic” drop down menu on the right-hand side of the page, or by selecting a particular tag of interest at the bottom of each decision.  For example, to see all cases decided in a U.S. Court of Appeals, use the “View Court Decisions by Topic” drop down menu to select “Court of Appeals.”  Alternatively, when reading a summary of a particular case, for example, where Exemption 5 is addressed, you can select “Exemption 5” from the list of categories at the bottom the summary to view all decisions where Exemption 5 is addressed. 

  • Search Decisions by Keyword or Phrase

    You can search through each decision summary for keywords or phrases using the “Search Court Decisions 2013-Present” feature on the right-hand side of the page.  For example, to see all cases with a particular term, such as “e-mail” or “affirming,” you can type in the term or phrase into this feature to retrieve all cases where it appears.  You can also use this feature to locate decisions from a particular court by searching for the court acronym, such as “D.C. Cir” for all decisions from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, or “S.D.N.Y.” for all decisions from the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


View Decisions Chronologically
January 10th, 2014
January 10th, 2014
January 10th, 2014
January 8th, 2014
January 3rd, 2014

More Court Decision Summaries


Updated: April 2013
Search Court Decisions

View Court Decisions by Topic
Court Decisions by Date
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