Governing bodies abhor it because some troublemakers (in the opinion of the public administration) merrily abuse the opportunities offered by this law. In the past, cases have come before a court in which alleged traffic offenders requested information on how the relevant breach was detected, but kept their applications deliberately vague so that the governing body could impossibly meet the request. If the governing body then violated the deadline for answering such a request, the applicant made use of its right to claim a penalty which was often many times higher than the fine with which it all started.
Whatever we think of such practices, it is clear that the governing body easily respond at such a vague request by simply asking for clarification. The deadline for responding to such a request will be suspended as long as the applicant does not explain his request. The problem was therefore not so much in the vagueness or complexity of the data requested, but more the fact that the systems of the respective governing bodies were not prepared for information requests.
A ruling from the Administrative Law Division of the Council of State of July 1, 2015 shows that the possibility of requesting information is quite far-reaching. That case concerned a request to the order in which the following information on an imposed fine for a traffic offense were requested:
1) the video or photo – at original size – of the offense, with date and time. The registration number of the vehicle should be clear to see;
2) the log file, which is the text that accompanies the video or photo, with all relevant information regarding the measuring equipment;
3) the source document;
4) the tripod control form;
5) an official report on oath similar document, from which it is clear how the alleged violation was observed;
6) the official document by which the serving officer was appointed;
7) the act of swearing in of the duty officer;
8) the certificate from which it is clear that the investigating officer was qualified to operateradar equipment at the time of measurement;
9) complete test report of the equipment with which the alleged violation is found, and that was valid at that time;
10) a statement that clearly shows that the measuring equipment was installed in accordance with the rules and was operated as such and that it worked as intended and was adjusted or aligned at the time of measurement;
11) the registration number and the date of the General Periodic Vehicle Inspection of where the measurement was made.
Of all these data, the Council of State ruled finally that only the name of the police officers do not have to be released. All other information must be provided to the applicant and if the police do not have the relevant data, the application must be forwarded to the body that has the relevant data.
This ruling underlines that the law provides the public with tremendous opportunities to ask informationfrom governing bodies. Abuse of the law is not adopted quickly by the court, although (for example) the privacy of police officers may be a good reason not to release data.