Ministers' Deputies
Notes on the Agenda

CM/Notes/925/4.3 22 April 20051
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925 Meeting, 4 May 2005
4 Human Rights


4.3 Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH)-

Draft ad hoc terms of reference to negotiate a free-standing binding legal instrument establishing principles on access to official documents on the basis of Recommendation Rec(2002)2

Item prepared by the GR-H

Reference document
GR-H(2005)CB4

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Action

To confer ad hoc terms of reference on the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) to negotiate a free-standing binding legal instrument establishing principles on access to official documents on the basis of Recommendation Rec(2002)2.

1. It is recalled that, at their 912th meeting (19 January 2005), in the context of the examination of the abridged report of the CDDH's 59th meeting, the Deputies examined a request made by the CDDH for instructions from the Committee of Ministers to negotiate a free-standing binding legal instrument establishing principles on access to official documents on the basis of Recommendation Rec(2002)2. Such an instrument would have to take into account national law and practice in the matter. The Deputies decided to invite their Rapporteur Group on Human Rights (GR-H) to examine the draft terms of reference and to report back.

2. The GR-H examined the draft terms of reference at its meetings on 17 March and 13 April 2005. After discussion, it agreed to adopt a two-stage approach whereby the CDDH would make a first report to the Deputies after a year on the content and form of the draft instrument to be elaborated, before continuing and completing its work. The revised draft terms of reference are appended to these Notes.

Financing assured: YES

DRAFT DECISION

925th meeting – 4 May 2005

Item 4.3

Steering Committee for Human Rights -
Draft ad hoc terms of reference to negotiate a free-standing binding legal instrument establishing principles on access to official documents on the basis of Recommendation Rec(2002)2

(GR-H(2005)CB4)

Decision

The Deputies conferred ad hoc terms of reference on the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) to negotiate a free-standing binding legal instrument establishing principles on access to official documents on the basis of Recommendation Rec(2002)2. The instrument should take national law and practice in the matter into account. The ad hoc terms of reference are contained in Appendix … to the present volume of Decisions. <see Appendix I to these Notes>

Appendix
(item 4.3)

Ad hoc terms of reference with a view to drafting
a legally binding instrument on access to official documents
Decision No. …

1. Name of Committee:

Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH)

2. Source:

Committee of Ministers

3. Completion date:

These terms of reference shall expire on 30 June 2007. The CDDH will submit an interim report before 30 April 2006.

4. Terms of reference:

To begin work on drafting a free-standing legally binding instrument establishing the principles on access to official documents, accompanied by an explanatory report, based on Recommendation Rec(2002)2 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on access to official documents, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 21 February 2002 at the 784th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies. Such an instrument should take due account of domestic law and practice in this field. In its interim report, the CDDH will present precise proposals as to the content and form of the instrument.

When elaborating such an instrument, the CDDH will take into account any further instructions from the Committee of Ministers, as well as the need to ensure compatibility and coherence between any new instrument and the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data of 28 January 1981 (CETS No. 108). It will also take into account Recommendation Rec (2000) 13 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on a European policy on access to archives, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 13 July 2000 at the 717th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies.

5. Committee(s) informed of the terms of reference for information:

- European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ);
- Steering Committee on the Mass Media (CDMM);
- Consultative Committee of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data [CETS 108] (T-PD).

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set up in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.


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