Document Type


Publication Date

January 1975




INTRODUCTION: The sanctions provision of the Freedom of Information Act amendments (Amendments)' provides a procedure whereby agency personnel who have withheld requested information may be subject to disciplinary action if a court, in ordering production of the documents and assessing against the United States reasonable attorneys' fees and other litigation costs, also issues a finding that a question of fact exists as to whether agency personnel acted arbitrarily or capriciously. Although the provision is relatively brief, it is potentially the most important amendment to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and one of the most important congressional enactments in recent years. This article explores the legislative history of the sanctions provision, analyzes the present provision in detail, examines questions which may arise from interpretation and implementation of the provision, and discusses the importance of the sanctions provision in FOIA litigation.