One of the guiding principles of the (“AI Policy”) is recognizing the right to an appeals process when a request for information in the Bank's possession is denied. A requester whose request for information has been denied can file an appeal if the requester can:
- show that the World Bank has violated the AI Policy by improperly or unreasonably restricting access to information that it would normally disclose under the AI Policy; and/or
- make a public interest case to override the corporate administrative matters, deliberative information or financial information (other than banking and billing information) exceptions of the AI Policy if the information being requested falls under one of these exceptions.
The AI Policy establishes two bodies to hear appeals, the Access to Information Committee (the “AI Committee”) and the Access to Information Appeals Board (the “AI Appeals Board”).
The AI Committee serves as the first stage of appeal for those appeals alleging a violation of the AI Policy. It also serves as the first and final stage of appeal for those appeals making a public interest case, and for appeals against Bank decisions to exercise its prerogative to restrict. The AI Committee's decisions in these cases are final.
The AI Committee makes its best efforts to reach a decision within 45 working days of receiving an appeal (AI Policy, paragraph 37). The AI Committee took an average of 41.1 working days to issue its decisions in FY2011, and 50.2 working days to conclude considerations on appeals in FY2012 (see “World Bank Access to Information Annual Report: FY2011” and “World Bank Access to Information Annual Report: FY2012”).
The AI Appeals Board serves as the second stage of appeal for those appeals alleging a violation of the AI Policy, following the AI Committee's decision to uphold the Bank's decision to deny access to information. The AI Appeals Board decisions on these appeals are final. No appeal was filed before the AI Appeals Board in FY2011 and FY2012; the appeals for which decisions have been issued by the AI Appeals Board were filed and decided in FY2013.
Decisions made by the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank are not subject to appeal.
The sole remedy available to those who prevail in the appeals process is to receive the information requested.