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“The affairs of government are not intended to be conducted in an atmosphere of secrecy since at all times the public is to be the beneficiary of any action taken at any level of government.”


This is the motive of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Virginia FOIA), a Virginia law that establishes the right of Virginia citizens to access most public records and public meetings. Unfortunately, even well meaning public bodies sometimes don’t understand all of their FOIA obligations.


In 2015, a statewide test conducted by local newspapers found widespread issues with FOIA compliance in local governments. These violations can lead to expensive FOIA lawsuits. If a citizen believes a public body violated their FOIA rights, they can sue the public body and the officials in charge. The public body and its officials may have to hire an attorney. If they lose, the public body may have to pay the citizen’s attorney fees. Moreover, the public officials could face personal fines for willful violations.


Public bodies protect themselves through transparency and compliance with the law. It is important to have a detailed and written FOIA policy to guide the actions of every employee and official that may receive a request of records. It is important to know how to conduct public meetings and, when appropriate, closed meetings. The Virginia FOIA attorneys at Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C. can help. Our attorneys can meet with you and draft a FOIA policy that will help avoid costly litigation. While there are many out there who will tell you the law, we will develop a customized system with you to comply with the law.


You Need To Hire Us To Draft and Review Your FOIA Policy!


Andrew T. Bodoh, Esq.


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