Delaware FOIA Guide

Your Right to Public records and Open Meeting

The Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) mandates that government meetings and public records are open and readily available to the citizens of the First State unless a specific exemption applies.

Getting Public Records

Any citizen of Delaware may ask to see public records and may request copies of those records in any format or medium used by the public body itself. If requested records are not available at the time of the request, an appointment will be made to provide the records as quickly as possible. Costs are allowed to be charged to the citizen making the request for specified administrative and duplication fees.

Attending Public Meetings

Any member of the public may attend meetings of all public bodies, unless a body is specifically exempted. Executive sessions closed to the public may be held only for the discussion of limited, specified business, and all voting on public business must take place at a public meeting and the results of the vote made public. Notice of any public meeting (open or closed), including the date, time, place, and the meeting agenda (subject to change) must be posted at least seven days in advance of the meeting.

Minutes of all meetings must be made available for inspection and copying (unless disclosure would defeat the lawful purpose of an executive session), and they must include names of those present, a record of each vote taken, and action agreed upon.

Enforcing Your Rights

If you think you have been wrongfully denied access to public information or that action at a public meeting was in violation of FOIA, you may file a complaint with the Delaware Attorney General or file lawsuit in Delaware court within the appropriate timeframe asking for an injunction, a declaratory judgment, a writ of mandamus (the government will be ordered to do or not to do some specific act), or other appropriate relief. If you win, the court may award attorney fees and costs. If you lose, the court may award attorney fees and costs to the defendant, but only if your suit is deemed frivolous or brought solely for the purpose of harassment.