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Court Decisions Overview

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.

You can view all decisions tagged with a particular topic or court by using the “Topic” drop down menu.  For example, to see all cases where Exemption 5 is addressed, select “Exemption 5.” 

You can search through each decision summary for keywords or phrases using the “Keyword Search” feature.  For example, to see all cases with a particular term, such as “e-mail” or “affirming,” you can type in the term or phrase to retrieve all court decision summaries 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.

View Court Decisions