The Department of Justice's revised FOIA regulations take effect today, ending a rulemaking process that began more than four years ago. In an announcement last month, DOJ noted that the new regulatory provisions include:
- A focus on the role of the Department's FOIA Contacts and FOIA Public Liaisons to assist requesters both before and after a request is made
- Proactive notification to requesters of which processing track their request falls in and an opportunity for requesters to narrow their requests to fit a faster track
- Procedures on referrals, consultations and coordinations, which among other things require agencies to provide requesters the name and FOIA contact information of any agency where records are referred
- An emphasis on good communication practices, which include the Department's commitment to communicate with requesters electronically whenever feasible, as well as other practices that ensure communications are made in the spirit of cooperation called for by the President and Attorney General Holder.
The updated regulations also reduce DOJ's photocopying charges, redefine a "representative of the news media," and incorporate other changes necessitated by the OPEN Government Act of 2008.