Sample letters: Mediation procedure

If there is disagreement between the parties concerned when an application for access to official documents is made under the Freedom of Information Act, a request for mediation can be submitted to the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC). The aim of the mediation procedure is to find a constructive solution to the disagreement within 30 days. Sample letters are provided here to make it easier for the parties concerned to make a request for mediation. You do not have to use these request forms.

Disagreements may arise between the parties concerned when an application is made to access official documents if:

  • the authority concerned limits or refuses access to the required document
  • the authority concerned does not respond to the application within the prescribed 20-day period
  • the authority concerned decides to grant access to the requested document although the latter contains personal data about a third party who does not agree to this data being made public.

The FDPIC only becomes involved on request. In the first two instances above, the applicant is entitled to request mediation. In the final case, the third party can object to access being granted to their personal data. No reason must be given for requesting mediation, but the request must be made in writing. The mediation procedure is free of charge.

If you wish to make a request for mediation, you should:

  1. select from the sample letters below the one which applies to your situation and save it on your computer
  2. provide the information required. You must give the information marked with an asterisk (*). The information provided will be used solely to process your request for mediation.
  3. print out the letter and send it to:

Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner
Feldeggweg 1
CH - 3003 Bern

Alternatively, you can send it by fax: 058 465 99 96.

Please note that you should make a request for mediation within 20 days of receiving the authority’s reply to your application to access documents, or if the authority does not reply within the statutory 20-day period. It helps us if you provide copies of your correspondence with the authority concerned (e.g. your application for access, authority’s replies) with your request for mediation. The more information you provide with your request, the sooner and more efficiently we can begin the mediation procedure.