Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Rights of Requesters & Responsibilities of Mathews County Under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located Section § 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.

A public record is any writing or recording - regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format - that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies.

Under Section § 2.2-3704.F et seq. of the Code of Virginia, "A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records". 

Purpose of FOIA

The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.

Your FOIA Rights

  • You have the right to request to inspect or receive copies of public records, or both.
  • You have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance.
  • If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in district or circuit court to compel compliance with FOIA. Alternatively, you may contact the FOIA Council for a nonbinding advisory opinion.

FOIA Officers for the County of Mathews

Submit a FOIA Request

To submit a FOIA request to a Mathews County department or constitutional office, we ask that you fill out our online form here. If you have any questions, please reach out to the appropriate FOIA officer listed above.


The Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA. The Council may be reached by email or by phone at 804-225-3056, or toll free at 866-448-4100.