FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-04
March 31 , 2004
Ms. Diana May
The staff of the Freedom of
Information Advisory Council is authorized to issue advisory
opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon
the information presented in your letter of January 21, 2004.
Dear Ms. May:
You have asked a question concerning a request for records under
the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). You indicate that
you are involved in unresolved legal matters with a state
university. You state that legal counsel for the university told
you that you may only contact the university if you act through an
attorney. You want to make a FOIA request for certain minutes and
records of the Board of Visitors of the university, and ask if the
university can prohibit you from making a FOIA request unless you
act through an attorney.
Subsection A of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia states
that [e]xcept as otherwise specifically provided by law, all
public records shall be open to inspection and copying by any
citizens of the Commonwealth. Therefore, as a citizen of the
Commonwealth, you have the right to request to inspect or copy
records held by the Board of Visitors. Absent a specific court
order to the contrary, a public body or its legal counsel may not
prohibit a citizen of the Commonwealth from making a request for
records, and cannot require that such citizen make a FOIA request
only through her attorney.
Thank you for contacting this office. I hope that I have been of
Maria J.K. Everett
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