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RULE 16-903. DEFINITIONS

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland RulesEffective: April 1, 2022

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 16. Court Administration
Chapter 900. Access to Judicial Records
Division 1. General Provisions
Effective: April 1, 2022
MD Rules, Rule 16-903
RULE 16-903. DEFINITIONS
In this Chapter, the following definitions apply except as otherwise expressly provided or as necessary implication requires:
(a) Access; Remote Access.
(1) Access. “Access” means the right to inspect, search, or obtain a copy of a judicial record. “Access” and “Inspection” are used interchangeably.
Cross reference: For courthouse computer terminals or kiosks available for use by the public, see Rule 16-918 (c).
(2) Remote Access.
(A) Generally. “Remote access” means the ability to inspect, search, or obtain a copy of a judicial record by electronic means from a device not under the control of the Maryland Judiciary.
(B) Case Records. Remote access to information in case records means access through the CaseSearch program operated by the Administrative Office of the Courts or through the MDEC System established by the Court of Appeals. Access to electronic case records through a terminal or kiosk located in a courthouse of the District Court, a circuit court, or an appellate court of this State and made available by the court for public access does not constitute remote access.
Cross reference: See Title 20 of the Maryland Rules.
Committee note: CaseSearch does not provide access to a complete record but only selected elements or information in a case record.
(C) Estate and Probate Records. Remote access to electronic estate and probate records maintained by an Orphans' Court or a Register of Wills means access through the Register of Wills ROWNET program.
(b) Administrative Record.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this Rule, “administrative record” means a record that:
(A) pertains to the administration or administrative support of a court, a judicial agency, a special judicial unit, or the judicial system of the State; and
(B) is not a case record.
(2) “Administrative record” includes:
(A) a rule adopted by a court pursuant to Rule 1-102;
(B) an administrative order, policy, or directive that governs the operation of a court or judicial agency;
(C) an analysis or report, even if derived from other judicial records, that is:
(i) prepared by or for the use of a court, judicial agency, a special judicial unit, or the judicial system of the State; and
(ii) not filed, and not required to be filed, with the clerk of a court for inclusion as or in a case record.
(D) judicial education materials prepared by, for, or on behalf of a judicial agency or special judicial unit for use by Maryland judges, magistrates, clerks, or other judicial personnel in the performance of their official duties;
(E) a jury plan adopted by a court;
(F) a case management plan adopted by a court;
(G) a continuity of operations plan;
(H) an electronic filing plan adopted by a court;
(I) policies, procedures, and plans adopted or approved by the SCA, the Court of Appeals, the Chief Judge of that Court, the administrative judge of a circuit court, the Chief Judge of the District Court, an orphans' court, or a register of wills pursuant to the Maryland Constitution, a Maryland Rule, or a statute;
(J) judicial or other professional work product; and
(K) policies, procedures, directives, or designs pertaining to the security or safety of judicial facilities, equipment, operations, personnel, or members of the public while in or in proximity to judicial facilities or equipment.
Cross reference: See Rule 16-911 (f) precluding the inspection of the kinds of records included in subsections (b)(1)(G) and (K) of this Rule.
(3) “Administrative record” does not include a document or information gathered, maintained, or stored by a person or entity other than a court, judicial agency, or special judicial unit, to which a court, judicial agency, or special judicial unit has access, but which is not a case record.
(c) Business License Record.
(1) “Business license record” means a judicial record pertaining to an application for a business license issued by the clerk of a court and includes the application for the license and a copy of the license.
(2) “Business license record” does not include a judicial record pertaining to a marriage license.
(d) Case Record.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this Rule, “case record” means:
(A) all or any portion of a paper, document, exhibit, order, notice, docket entry, or other record, whether in paper, electronic, or other form, that is made, entered, filed with, or maintained by the clerk of a court in connection with an action or proceeding; and
(B) a miscellaneous record filed with the clerk of the court pursuant to law that is not a notice record.
(2) “Case record” does not include a document or information described in subsection (b)(3) of this Rule.
(e) Clerk. “Clerk” means the clerk of a Maryland court and includes (1) deputy and assistant clerks authorized to act for the clerk with respect to inspection requests, and (2) a register of wills when acting as the custodian of a judicial record filed with or created by the register or the orphans' court.
(f) Court. “Court” means the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the Court of Special Appeals, a circuit court, the District Court of Maryland, and an orphans' court of Maryland.
(g) Custodian. Subject to subsection (3) of this section, “Custodian,” with respect to a judicial record, means:
(1) for a case record, notice record, or license record, the clerk of the court in which the record was filed or the license was issued, or an employee of the clerk's office authorized to act for the clerk in determining administratively whether inspection of the record or any part of the record may be denied; and
(2) for an administrative record or special judicial unit record, the individual, or an employee authorized to act for the individual, with legal control over the record and authority to determine administratively whether inspection of the record or any part of the record may be denied.
(3) Judicial records that are in electronic form may have more than one custodian. They may be in the custody or control of the person who created them or with whom they initially were filed and in the custody or control of the Administrative Office of the Courts or a unit of that Office. In that situation, where it may be more convenient and efficient for an employee of the Administrative Office of the Courts to locate the records requested, determine whether there are any impediments to inspection, and communicate with the requester, the SCA or the SCA's designee may delegate those functions to an employee of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
(4) For administrative records within the custody or control of the Administrative Office of the Courts, the State Court Administrator (SCA) may designate, by general or specific directive, which unit or employee within the Administrative Office of the Courts should receive the request or perform the function of custodian.
Committee note: The objectives of subsection (g)(3) are efficiency in locating the judicial record and uniformity in determining whether there are any impediments to allowing inspection of the record or records of that kind. It is not intended to supplant the ability of the clerks or other custodians to accept and deal with requests for case records, notice records, license records, or local administrative records that easily may be located and present no issues of access as to which a uniform policy is desirable. This approach is not inconsistent with the PIA. Code, General Provisions Article, § 4-101 (d) defines “custodian” as the “official custodian,” defined in § 4-101 (f), and “any other authorized individual who has physical custody and control of a public record.”
(h) Individual. “Individual” means a human being.
(i) Judicial Agency. “Judicial agency” means a unit within the Judicial Branch of the Maryland Government other than a special judicial unit. Judicial agency includes an orphans' court and a register of wills.
(j) Judicial Record. “Judicial record” means a record that is the original or copy of any documentary material that:
(1) is made or received by, and is in the possession of, a judicial agency, judicial personnel, or a special judicial unit, in connection with the transaction of judicial business;
(2) is in any form, including the forms listed in Code, General Provisions Article, § 4-101 (j) (1) (ii), and
(3) includes:
(A) an administrative record;
(B) a license record;
(C) a case record;
(D) a notice record; or
(E) a special judicial unit record.
(k) Judicial Work Product. “Judicial work product” has its common law meaning. It includes (1) documents, notes, and memoranda prepared by a judge or other Judicial Branch personnel at the request of a judge or other judicial official, (2) documents created or maintained as part of a judge's or judicial official's deliberative process, and (3) research, requests for information, and communications by or on behalf of a judge or other judicial official, and responses thereto, intended for use in the preparation of a decision, order, recommendation, opinion, or other judicial action or pronouncement.
Committee note: Judicial personnel sometimes may send or receive by e-mail or other electronic means information that was not intended to constitute a judicial record and would not constitute judicial work product. Upon an inspection request, the custodian of such records will need to determine whether a particular communication falls within the definition of judicial record and, if so, judicial work product.
(l) License Record. “License record” means a judicial record of a business license or a marriage license issued by the clerk of a circuit court pursuant to statute.
Cross reference: For business licenses issued by the clerk, see Code, Business Regulation Article, Titles 16, 16.5, and 17. For marriage licenses issued by the clerk, see Code, Family Law Article, Title 2, subtitles 4 and 5.
(m) Notice Record. “Notice record” means a record that is filed with the clerk of a court pursuant to statute for the principal purpose of giving public notice of the record. It includes deeds, mortgages, and other documents filed among the land records; financing statements filed pursuant to Code, Commercial Law Article, Title 9; and tax and other liens filed pursuant to statute.
(n) Person. “Person” means an individual, sole proprietorship, partnership, firm, association, corporation, or other entity.
(o) PIA. “PIA” means the Maryland Public Information Act (Code, General Provisions Article, Title 4).
(p) Special Judicial Unit. “Special Judicial Unit” means (1) the State Board of Law Examiners, the Accommodations Review Committee, and character committees; (2) the Attorney Grievance Commission and Bar Counsel; (3) the Commission on Judicial Disabilities, the Judicial Inquiry Board, and Investigative Counsel; and (4) the Client Protection Fund.
(q) SCA. “SCA” means the State Court Administrator.
Cross reference: See Rule 16-111 regarding the authority and duties of the State Court Administrator.
Source: This Rule is derived from former Rule 16-902 (2019).

Credits

[Adopted June 29, 2020, eff. Aug. 1, 2020. Amended Feb. 9, 2022, eff. April 1, 2022.]
MD Rules, Rule 16-903, MD R CTS J AND ATTYS Rule 16-903
Current with amendments received through May 15, 2022. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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