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Resources for Legal Research on the Freedom of Information Act

Select Resources for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Legal Research on the Internet

Key government FOIA-related websites


Federal government’s central website for FOIA, including background information, agency FOIA data, agency contact information, and links for making FOIA requests


Department of Justice office that oversees agency compliance with FOIA and develops government-wide policy on FOIA


Office within the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) that offers mediation services and is charged with identifying ways to improve FOIA compliance  



FOIA Treatises and Guides


Detailed collaborative resource on FOIA provided by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press


Comprehensive discussion of FOIA decisions and administration from the perspective of the U.S. Department of Justice


Guide discussing how to use FOIA


2020 Congressional Research Service report providing an overview of FOIA


2012 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform guide to using FOIA


2008 National Security Archive guide to using FOIA


State FOIA Resources

Compendium of information on every state’s open records and open meetings laws


Coalition of state freedom of information organizations


Key Statutes on Government Records



Litigation and Judicial Decisions


Department of Justice website containing summaries of FOIA decisions


Website with detailed information on FOIA lawsuits


Public Citizen Litigation Group FOIA cases, including complaints and briefs




Executive Order on Classified National Security Information signed by President Obama on December 29, 2009



OGIS resource comparing FOIA and the Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) processes and including descriptions of and links to NARA’s Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), National Declassification Center (NDC), and the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB)


Archive of Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, which, from 1991-2021, worked to promote public access to government information by seeking reform of national security classification and declassification policies


Legislative History


Legislative materials on FOIA compiled by the Department of Justice


Legislative materials on FOIA compiled by the National Security Archive, through the 2007 FOIA amendments


1974 source book compiled by Senate subcommittee containing materials on FOIA


1975 source book compiled by Senate subcommittee containing materials on 1974 FOIA amendments


Fees and Fee Waivers




Presidential Records


Executive Order on presidential documents signed by President Obama on January 21, 2009