Agency FOIA Regulations

Provided by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
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Introduction

All federal agencies are authorized (and in some cases, mandated) by FOIA to promulgate regulations for implementing various aspects of the law.[1] Such regulations generally govern how the agency processes FOIA requests. This might include, for example, information on fee categories and waivers, multitrack processing, and expedited processing.

Agency regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations. Links to each agency's regulations in the CFR can be found at the Agencies Landing Page

Compliance with agency regulations when making a request

FOIA requires requesters to comply with an agency's regulations regarding "the time, place, fees (if any), and procedures to be followed"[2] in making a request.

Legal effect of agency regulations

Courts do not defer to an agency's interpretation of FOIA in its regulations, unlike agencies tasked with implementing other statutes. As the D.C. Circuit has explained,

we will not defer to an agency's view of FOIA's meaning. [...] No one federal agency administers FOIA. The meaning of FOIA should be the same no matter which agency is asked to produce its records. One agency's interpretation of FOIA is therefore no more deserving of judicial respect than the interpretation of any other agency.[3]

Other courts have similarly held that an agency's regulations do not deserve Chevron-type deference.

Issues affected by agency regulations

See also

Agencies Landing Page

External Links

References

  1. See, e.g., 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)
  2. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A)
  3. Tax Analysts v. IRS, 117 F.3d 607, 613 (1997)