The article offers a comparative review of the constitutional and legal bases of the right of access to information about the activities of public administration in Russia and Germany. It presents approaches to the definition of the content of and restrictions to this right in both legal systems. Originally, access to information about activities of the public administration in Germany was beyond constitutional guarantees. At the same time, German legislative and law enforcement practices gave a broad interpretation of the guarantees of the right in question, while the Russian legislative and judicial practices specified the constitutional right of everyone to receive information about the activities of public authorities in the first instance through the establishment of the right’s limits and restrictions. A comparison of restrictions of this right in the legislation of Russia and Germany indicates a shortage of legal certainty in the Russian legal approach. Moreover, the Russian approach to the establishment and judicial interpretation of restrictions of the right of access to information regarding activities of the public administration can be characterized as onesided, being expressed in the idea of absolute protection of any classified information. Therefore the German experience in applying a method of balancing interests for the resolution of conflicts between the right of access to information and other constitutional rights deserves special attention, with a view to improving Russian legislation and judicial practice in this field.
About the authors: Elena Gritsenko – Professor, Chair of State and Administrative Law, St. Petersburg State University, Doctor of Law Ekaterina Babelyuk – Associate Professor, Chair of State and Administrative Law, St. Petersburg State University, Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law Maria Proskuryakova – Postgraduate Student, Chair of State and Administrative Law, St. Petersburg State University