(CBS) — The city of Chicago has released more than 1,000 email chains: Mayor Emanuel’s private emails related to city business.

It was the Better Government Association that took the city to court to get the release of the mayor’s private emails.

And now there is a settlement, with the city agreeing to release them.

“It’s really clear that if people don’t have access to information, they can’t meaningfully participate in democracy. And that’s why we have a Freedom of Information Act. That’s why we have laws that guarantee access to public records,” says Matt Topic, the BGA’s attorney.

“If public officials were allowed to just avoid those laws by transacting public business in private email accounts, it would really defeat the entire purpose of having a statute like that.”

Under the settlement, the city has agreed to impose a ban on city employees using private emails.

In a statement, Mayor Emanuel says: “The new standard we have set clarifies questions not just for me, but for all of Chicago’s 30,000 employees.”