28 CFR 16.8 - Administrative appeals.

§ 16.8 Administrative appeals.

(a)Requirements for making an appeal. A requester may appeal any adverse determinations to OIP. The contact information for OIP is contained in the FOIA Reference Guide, which is available at http://www.justice.gov/oip/04_3.html. Appeals can be submitted through the web portal accessible on OIP's Web site. Examples of adverse determinations are provided in § 16.6(d). The requester must make the appeal in writing and to be considered timely it must be postmarked, or in the case of electronic submissions, transmitted, within 90 calendar days after the date of the response. The appeal should clearly identify the component's determination that is being appealed and the assigned request number. To facilitate handling, the requester should mark both the appeal letter and envelope, or subject line of the electronic transmission, “Freedom of Information Act Appeal.”

(b)Adjudication of appeals.

(1) The Director of OIP or designee will act on behalf of the Attorney General on all appeals under this section.

(2) An appeal ordinarily will not be adjudicated if the request becomes a matter of FOIA litigation.

(3) On receipt of any appeal involving classified information, OIP shall take appropriate action to ensure compliance with part 17 of this title.

(c)Decisions on appeals. A decision on an appeal must be made in writing. A decision that upholds a component's determination will contain a statement that identifies the reasons for the affirmance, including any FOIA exemptions applied. The decision will provide the requester with notification of the statutory right to file a lawsuit and will inform the requester of the mediation services offered by the Office of Government Information Services of the National Archives and Records Administration as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. If a component's decision is remanded or modified on appeal, the requester will be notified of that determination in writing. The component will thereafter further process the request in accordance with that appeal determination and respond directly to the requester.

(d)Engaging in dispute resolution services provided by OGIS. Mediation is a voluntary process. If a component agrees to participate in the mediation services provided by the Office of Government Information Services, it will actively engage as a partner to the process in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

(e)When appeal is required. Before seeking review by a court of a component's adverse determination, a requester generally must first submit a timely administrative appeal.

[AG Order No. 3517-2015, 80 FR 18106, Apr. 3, 2015, as amended by AG Order 3803-2016, 82 FR 728, Jan. 4, 2017]

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