Summary: Younger Laws on Fees Prevail over Right to Information
|Request sent to
||State Register of Legal Entities (Click here).|
|Outcome of request||Information refused.|
|Time taken to respond||3 days (deadline is 5 working days).|
|Reason for refusal||Must pay for access.
Another law overrides FOI law.
The initial request, translated into Armenian, was sent to the State Register of Legal Entities on 5 August 2013 by our partner in Armenia, Marine Madatyan. On 9 August, a reply was received, which explained that the information requested could only be accessed upon payment of a fee, according to the “Law on State Duty”.
On 27 September an administrative appeal against this decision was sent to the Ministry of Justice. The appeal highlighted the fact that access had been requested under the Freedom of information law, which allows for free access to public information if it is sent via email.
Just three days later we received a response to our appeal, which repeated the same arguments: that we could not access this kind of information for free, and that even if they wanted to they could not send the entire database by e-mail due to the large size of the file.
In Armenia, if two laws are in contradiction, the earlier one prevails over the later one. In this case, the ‘law on freedom to information’ came into force in 2003, while the ‘law of the Registration of Legal entities’, which details the fees to be paid for accessing information, came into effect in 2001. According to legal experts from Armenia, this made it very unlikely that we would win an appeal before the national Courts, so we ended the process there.
The result is that free access to the full company register is currently not possible in Armenia. You must pay for access to each company record, which goes against the standards set by the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents and is a violation of the right of access to information. Members of the public have already paid for the information to be collected through their taxes, so paying to access it essentially means that Armenian citizens are paying for the same information twice.
Access Info recommends that the Armenian company register be published in an open data format so that it is easily accessible to all citizens for free.
Accessing the Armenian Company Register
|Information Available (for free)||Name and status of company, name of founder, company registration number, tax ID and copies of statutes.|
|Provision for Public Access||You can only search in the electronic register if you know the full name, passport or social security number of the founder, or if you know the name of the legal entity, or its registration number.
The search can only be done in the Armenian alphabet.
Searching is free, but the options are limited.
To access a full company record you must pay, according to the Armenian “Law on State Duty”.
|Cost per Record||Each company profile costs 3000 AMD (roughly 5.75 EUR).|
|Cost for Whole Database
||There are 45761 Limited Liability Companies, 3973 Closed Joint-Stock Companies, 785 General Partnerships and 58 Companies of Water users registered. The total is therefore 51445 entries. This means that access to the full database would cost 154,335,000 AMD (roughly 297.75 EUR).|