Disclosure of public documents

A request for the disclosure of a public document must, by law, be dealt with promptly. In practice, this means that the document must be disclosed immediately or within a few days if the requested material is extensive.

The legal requirement of promptly process a request means that if the person who normally handles such a request is not available someone else must process the request. It is only if the material that must be processed before being disclosed is extensive that the processing can take more than a few days. If a request is extensive or frequent, please find out more on Advice when processing extensive and frequent requests of disclosing public documents .

Do you have any questions or want some advice on issues relating to the disclosure of public documents? Please contact a legal officer, archivist or registrar.

What does a request look like?

There is no formal requirements on how a request to access a public document should look like. It is enough that the request is precise enough for the University to identify the actual document. The person requesting access doesn't need to know exact information such has title or casenumber. If the request is unclear you can ask the person requesting the document to be more precise.

Right of anonymity

Access public documents that are not covered by confidentiality can be requested by anyone. The requesting party has the right to do so anonymously. As an employee of the University, you are not normally entitled to ask about the reason why someone wishes to see an official document, nor to enquire about the identity of the person requesting it. Only if it is needed for the assessment of confidentiality such information may be enquired.

How should the information be disclosed?

The original document should never be given. Instead the requesting party can receive a copy or be offered to look at the document at the University.

The main principle is that the document is disclosed as a paper copy. Only by exception disclosure may be made in electronic form if it facilitates the University's processing. If the inforamtion is to be disclosed electronically, you must ensure that it reaches the correct recipient and that the necessary level of security can be maintained during the transmission. This exception shall be used with great restrictiveness. If the document contains personal data, disclosure must always be made on paper. Information and guidance on how personal data should be handled in public documents and e-mails can be found in the FAQ on personal data issues (in swedish).

Always assess confidentiality before disclosure

All public documents must be subject to an assessment of confidentiality prior to their disclosure. If information in the document is protected by any provision of the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act, that information may not be disclosed. Read more on the pages on confidentiality and professional secrecy.

If you are unsure whether the information can be disclosed or not, please contact a legal officer.

It may be that not all information in a document is covered by confidentiality. Information not covered by professional secrecy shall then be disclosed. Information protected by confidentiality shall be deleted so that it cannot be viewed without prejudice to the parts which are public.

If the document is not disclosed

If the document or part of the document is not disclosed, the requesting party shall be informed that they have the right to get the matter examined by the University Director. Such a decision may be appealed to the Administrative Court of Appeal. A message to the person who requested but did not receive the documents may be formulated as follows:

You have requested to access [Enter which documents are not disclosed].

We have assessed that the information is covered by confidentiality in accordance with Section X of Chapter X of the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (2009:400) [indicate here reference to the exact section in which the confidentiality is stated].

You have the right to have this matter formally examined by us. We can then issue an authority decision. You must have such a decision in order to appeal that we do not disclose the documents. If you want an authority decision, send a request to registrator@umu.se or Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå.

The University charges a fee

The University shall charge a fee in accordance with the Fees Ordinance (1992:191) for copies of public documents. For paper copies, the first nine pages are normally free of charge, but if the order includes ten pages or more, a fee is charged per page. Ten pages cost 50 SEK and each page subsequent page costs 2 SEK each. A postage fee or other cost for sending the document may also be charged. A fee shall also be charged if, on exeption, the document can be disclosed electronically.

In an individual case, it may be decided that the fee should be paid in whole or in part before the copies are handed out. Contact a legal officer before making such a decision on advance payment. No fee shall be charged if the requesting party accesses the document at the University's premises.

There are some exceptions when the University does not charge a fee, e.g. if it is another authority that requests access to documents.

Contact information

Contact the Legal Affairs Office on 

Data protetion officers, questions regarding personal data management


Elisabeth Mach