NB: Unofficial translation
© Ministry of Justice, Finland
Act on the Openness of Government Activities
(621/1999; AMENDMENTS UP TO 1060/2002 INCLUDED)
Chapter 1 — General provisions
Section 1 — Principle of openness
(1) Official documents shall be in the public domain, unless specifically otherwise
provided in this Act or another Act.
(2) There are specific provisions that apply to the right to attend Parliamentary plenary
sessions, meetings of municipal councils and other municipal bodies, court
hearings and meetings of ecclesiastical bodies.
Section 2 — Scope of application
This Act contains provisions on the right of access to official documents in the
public domain, officials’ duty of non-disclosure, document secrecy and any other
restrictions of access that are necessary for the protection of public or private
interests, as well as on the duties of the authorities for the achievement of the
objectives of this Act.
Section 3 — Objectives
The objectives of the right of access and the duties of the authorities provided in
this Act are to promote openness and good practice on information management in
government, and to provide private individuals and corporations with an
opportunity to monitor the exercise of public authority and the use of public
resources, to freely form an opinion, to influence the exercise of public authority,
and to protect their rights and interests.
Section 4 — Authorities
(1) For the purposes of this Act, authorities are defined as:
(1) State administrative authorities and other State agencies and institutions;
(2) courts of law and the other bodies for the administration of the law;
(3) State enterprises;
(4) municipal authorities;
(5) the Bank of Finland, including the Finance Supervision Authority, the
National Pensions Institution and other independent institutions subject to
public law; however, this Act applies to the documents of the Pensions
Security Centre and the Agricultural Pensions Institute as provided in
(6) Parliamentary agencies and institutions;
(7) ˜ land authorities, when performing the duties of State authorities in ˜ land;
(8) independent boards, consultative bodies, commissions, committees, working
groups, investigators, as well as auditors of municipalities and federations of
municipalities, and other comparable organs appointed for the performance of
a given task on the basis of an Act, a Decree or a decision of an authority
referred to in subparagraph (1), (2) or (7).
(2) The provisions on an authority also apply to corporations, institutions, foundations
and private individuals appointed for the performance of a public task on the basis
of an Act, a Decree or a provision or order issued by virtue of an Act or a Decree,
when they exercise public authority. Separate provisions apply to access to the
documents of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
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