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FOIA Update: New Case List and Guide Publications

FOIA Update
Vol. XIII, No. 2

New Case List and Guide Publications

A new governmentwide publication covering both the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act of 1974 is being prepared by the Office of Information and Privacy for distribution this coming fall.

Case List and "FOIA Guide"

Since the mid-1970s, the Department of Justice has published a single reference volume on government information laws -- the Freedom of Information Case List -- which contains up-to-date lists of cases decided under the FOIA, the Privacy Act, the Government in the Sunshine Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as well as the texts of those four major access statutes. Over the years, the Case List has grown in length with the development of the case law under those statutes.

The Case List has also contained the "Justice Department Guide to the Freedom of Information Act," a detailed discussion of substantive and procedural FOIA topics that has grown considerably in both length and complexity over the years. As reformatted in 1991 to enhance its use as a ready reference tool, the "FOIA Guide" now approaches 300 pages in length in and of itself.

In order to accommodate the continued development of the "FOIA Guide," and in recognition of its use as a singular reference tool for FOIA matters, the Office of Information and Privacy has decided to detach it from the Case List publication and to publish it each year as part of a separate reference volume.

FOIA Guide & Privacy Act Overview

The new Department of Justice publication, like the Case List, will be published through the Government Printing Office in September of each year. See FOIA Update, Fall 1989, at 2. It will primarily feature the "FOIA Guide," which is updated and expanded by the Office of Information and Privacy each year.

Additionally, this new publication will contain an overview discussion of the provisions of the Privacy Act prepared by the Office of Information and Privacy in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget, which holds governmentwide policy responsibility for the Privacy Act.

To be entitled the Freedom of Information Act Guide & Privacy Act Overview, the publication also will contain the texts of both statutes and will be designed to serve as a single reference volume for FOIA and Privacy Act matters. At most federal departments and agencies, the two statutes are administered in very close conjunction with one another - - in many cases by combination FOIA/Privacy Act officers, who should find this combination volume particularly useful.

GPO Requisition Process

All federal departments and agencies have to make individual requisition arrangements with the Government Printing Office for bulk purchases of these Department of Justice publications. Each year, the Office of Information and Privacy sends notices to the principal legal and administrative FOIA contacts at all federal agencies reminding them of GPO's strict mid-August deadline for placing low-cost, bulk orders for the annual Case List publication; by "riding" the Justice Department's base GPO requisition order at the base printing price, agencies can save upwards of $15.00 per copy. The same procedure should be followed this year for the Department's new FOIA Guide & Privacy Act Overview publication.

This year, however, agencies will have to be mindful of the new Guide & Overview publication when they place their bulk requisition orders with GPO for both publications. They should bear in mind that the new publication will contain the "FOIA Guide" this year and that the Case List will consist of more general reference items such as compilations of cases, indices and law review articles on access issues overall. Each agency should order a combination of the two publications that best fits its needs.

As it has done with the Case List in the past, the Office of Information and Privacy will send a courtesy copy of both the Case List and the Guide & Overview to each principal FOIA contact at each agency. Additionally, both publications will be sold to the general public through GPO. The Case List's editor, Pamela Maida, is available to answer any inquiries, at (202) 514-5105.

Go to: FOIA Update Home Page

Updated August 13, 2014