April 14 Wednesday

Fixing FOIA Comparative Solutions to Americas transparency deficit

  • Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 12:00PM - 1:30PM
  • Online
  • Open To The Public
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Virtually everyone who regularly uses the federal FOIA system can speak to its challenges as a mechanism for obtaining timely, comprehensive and unvarnished information on matters of public importance. One particular difficulty is in the oversight structure. Requesters who wish to appeal against a refusal to disclose information face a long, costly, and draining battle through the courts. This effectively means that only the most powerful and well-resourced applicants have any recourse against government non-compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.
Around the world, many countries direct such appeals through an independent administrative oversight body, which is designed to be faster and cheaper than going through the courts. Could such an approach work in the US?
This event brings together representatives from two information oversight bodies, from Canada and Mexico, alongside the Executive Director of the Administrative Conference of the United States, two discuss comparative best practices in establishing and implementing an independent oversight body, and what potential considerations would be important in setting up that kind of an agency in the federal system.
This conversation is presented by the Wikimedia/Yale Law School Initiative on Intermediaries and Information (WIII), and the Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic, both of which are housed in the Yale Information Society Project.
Please note that the sessions will be recorded, for upload to the Yale ISP website.
Caroline Maynard is the Information Commissioner of Canada. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Maynard was the Interim Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the Military Grievances External Review Committee from January 2017 to March 2018, after serving as Director General, Operations, and General Counsel in the organization for a number of years. Earlier in her career, she was Legal Counsel in the Office of the Judge Advocate General and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police External Review Committee. Ms. Maynard also worked with the Canada Revenue Agency and briefly in private practice.
Matthew Lee Wiener is the Acting Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Executive Director of the Administrative Conference of the United States. In 2016, President Obama nominated him to be the Conference’s Chairman. Before affiliating with the Conference, Mr. Wiener was general counsel to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, a partner at Dechert LLP, and special counsel to Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca. Mr. Wiener is an elected member of the American Law Institute, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a lecturer in law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and the co-chair of the Adjudication Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. He holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he was articles editor of the Stanford Law Review, and an A.B. from William and Mary.
Moderator: Michael Karanicolas is the Wikimedia Fellow at Yale Law School, where he leads the Initiative on Intermediaries and Information. Prior to joining the ISP, Michael worked at the Centre for Law and Democracy, and carried out consultancies for the Open Government Partnership, UNESCO, and Dalhousie University. Michael has a B.A. (Hons.) from Queen's University (Dean's List), an LL.B. from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University (Dean's List), and an LL.M. from the University of Toronto. Starting in April, he will take up a position as the inaugural Executive Director of the UCLA Institute for Technology Law & Policy.

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