Section IV.
The application procedure

Article 17.

§ 1.

The application must be submitted in writing. This is understood to mean an application submitted by letter, fax, e-mail, or handed over personally.


The application must clearly indicate the matter concerned, including if possible the administrative documents in question, the form in which the information is preferably to be made available, as well as the name and correspondence address of the applicant. In the case of environmental information it may also include a proposed period within which the applicant wishes to receive the information.


The applicant is to demonstrate his identity and, as the case may be, must provide proof that the person from whom the information originates consents to the making public, if the request concerns:

  1. matters of individual privacy, as referred to in article 13, 2°, or article 15, §1, 1°;
  2. confidential commercial or industrial information, as referred to in article 14, 3°, or in article 15, §1, 7°;
  3.  information provided by third parties without these parties being compelled or obliged to do so, and which the said parties have explicitly designated as confidential. as stipulated in article 13, 6°, or in article 15, §1, 5°.


§ 2.

The applicant is under no obligation to prove an interest.


However, for the making public of personal information, the applicant must show that his legal position may be affected directly and personally by either:

  1. the information;
  2. the decision the information relates to;
  3. the decision for the preparation of which the document containing the information was drawn up.
This interest must only be shown insofar as the case concerns other than environmental information and insofar as this personal information does not pertain to the applicant.


§ 3.

The application must be submitted to the authority that has the administrative document at its disposal or has deposited it in an archive. It may also be submitted to the communications official referred to in article 31, §1.


In the event of the application being submitted to the communications official or to an authority that does not have the administrative document at its disposal, as soon as possible this authority or the communications official must forward the application to the authority that presumably does have the document at its disposal. The applicant must be informed of this immediately. If the application is submitted to an archive and concerns an administrative document that was deposited in an archive by an authority, then the archive must forward the application to this authority immediately.


The authority that receives an application and has the administrative document at its disposal or has deposited it in an archive, must immediately record the application in a register, indicating the date of receipt. This registration is public to the applicant.

Article 18.

If the request is manifestly unreasonable or formulated in too general a manner, as soon as possible the authority must ask the applicant to complete his application or to reformulate it in a more specific manner. The authority informs the applicant why the application is manifestly unreasonable or formulated too generally.


To the extent possible it should also be indicated which information is required about the information requested in order to be able to comply with the application.

Article 19.

Without prejudice to possible delegation, the decision concerning the application is taken by:

  1. For the Flemish Parliament: by the parliamentary clerk;
  2. for institutions and agencies attached to the Flemish Parliament: by an authorised executive personnel member;
  3. for the authority referred to in article 4, §1, 2° by an authorised executive personnel member of the authority having the administrative document at its disposal
  4. for the municipalities and districts:by the secretary;
  5. for the provinces: by the provincial clerk;
  6. for other municipal and provincial institutions and the non-profit associations specified in article 4, §1, 5°: by the chairman of the board of management;
  7. for the associations of provinces and municipalities and other forms of cooperation referred to in article 4, §1, 6°: by the chairman of the association;
  8. for the O.C.M.W.s and the associations, referred to in section 12 of the organic law of 8 July 1976 concerning the public centres for social welfare (O.C.M.W.s): by the secretary; of the O.C.M.W. or the Director of the association;
  9. for polders and water control authorities: by the dyke warden of the polder or the chairman of the water control authority;
  10. for the church councils and the bodies entrusted with the administration of the temporal possessions of the official religions: by their chairman;
  11. other bodies within the Flemish Region and the Flemish Community: the authorised representative in accordance with applicable regulations and statutes.

Article 20. Translation not available

Article 21. The municipalities must cooperate with the authorities referred to in article 4, §1, 2°, with the submission and processing of the applications and for the carrying out of the decisions. The Flemish Government establishes further rules and regulations for this cooperation, after prior consultation.