Key FOIA Resources: 2019 Department of Justice Guide to the Freedom of Information Act

October 7, 2019

The Office of Information Policy (OIP) is pleased to announce the completion of the 2019 Department of Justice Guide to the Freedom of Information Act.  The Guide serves as a comprehensive legal treatise on the FOIA and contains an analysis of key judicial opinions on the FOIA as well as relevant guidance from OIP.  The Guide, OIP's capstone resource, is relied on by both agency personnel and the public for understanding the legal framework for the administration of the FOIA.  As announced in the Department's Open Government Plan version 2.0, over the past few years, OIP has posted individual chapters on a rolling basis to update the now electronic "living document" form of the Guide

The 2019 Guide is an overarching update prepared by OIP's subject matter experts which reflects the current state of the FOIA, taking into account recent changes in the FOIA, hundreds of court decisions impacting the interpretation of the FOIA, and recent guidance issued by OIP.  The 2019 Guide contains detailed discussions of the FOIA's procedural requirements, including the fee and fee waiver provisions, exemptions, discretionary releases and waiver, as well as litigation considerations.  Moving forward, OIP will continue to update individual chapters as necessary, but the 2019 version of the Guide will now serve as the most up-to-date treatise on the current state of the FOIA.

Agencies are encouraged to use the Guide in conjunction with other resources provided by OIP to stay current with the state of FOIA law.  For questions concerning the Guide, agencies may also reach out to OIP for advice through the FOIA Counselor Service


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Updated October 7, 2019