Q. How do I obtain court records?
The Unified Court System maintains two types of records: administrative records and court records. Administrative records are those records maintained by the different divisions within the Office of Court Administration ("OCA"), which do not constitute court records. Administrative records are subject to disclosure to the public under the Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”). Court records, however, are not subject to disclosure under FOIL, but under NY Judiciary Law § 255. Visit the nycourts.gov website for more information on how to obtain court records and court transcripts.
Access to court records relies upon common law, constitutional law and New York statutes. This is governed generally by Article 6 of the NY Public Officers Law, also known as the Freedom of Information Law. Other relevant statutes include 22 NYCRR § 216.1, which stipulates that civil actions cannot be sealed without cause; and NY Judiciary Law § 4, which states that court proceedings must be open to the public except for certain types of cases, including divorce and rape.