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I have found that many government agencies, both state and federal, adopt illegal procedures or attempt to collect information illegally or create administrative barriers to obtaining information from them which they are legally required to provide.

A very typical example of this is that a government agency may demand that a person provide identification or other irrelevant information to receive a public record even though no law authorizes them to do so.

What can a private citizen do to correct an abuse like this or force the agency to act in a lawful way?

I am aware that in many cases the citizen can get a court order to solve their individual problem. For example, if the citizen wants a record, they can go before a judge and ask for a court order which compels the agency to produce the record. However, this only solves the problem for a single instance. It does not help others with the same problem or force the agency to behave lawfully in other cases.

So, is it possible, when petitioning for such a court order, that the citizen ask the judge to order the agency to behave in a lawful way and abolish their illegal "regulation" in addition to granting the citizen's one-time request?

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So, is it possible, when petitioning for such a court order, that the citizen ask the judge to order the agency to behave in a lawful way and abolish their illegal "regulation" in addition to granting the citizen's one-time request?

While it is possible to obtain injunctive relief changing a procedure arising from a one time transaction, it isn't easy to do so. If the agency complies with the one specific request made by the person and that person isn't a regular and repeat player in that kind of transaction, the agency can simply comply with your individual demand and have the balance of the relief requested denied as moot or deny you standing to assert a general rule change.

You typically need the right parties (either a class action or parties with regular dealings with the agency, like a newspaper) to obtain injunctive relief.

This contrasts, for example, with the way that public law questions are handled by the Council of State in France, where a systemic bureaucratic problem in the government will ordinarily and routinely be ordered to be fixed when a single complaint is raised, and the issues will typically be litigated by government paid lawyers or senior civil servants on both sides of the case with minimal litigation costs for the party affected.

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Yes. You would include a request for injunctive relief in your complaint, specifying your demand that the court order the agency to comply with the order going forward.

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