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RULE 16-902. PREAMBLE

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland RulesEffective: August 1, 2020

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 16. Court Administration
Chapter 900. Access to Judicial Records
Division 1. General Provisions
Effective: August 1, 2020
MD Rules, Rule 16-902
RULE 16-902. PREAMBLE
(a) Constitutional Authority. Article IV, § 18(a) of the Md. Constitution authorizes the Court of Appeals to adopt Rules concerning the practice and procedure in and the administration of the courts of this State that have the force of law. Control over access to judicial records in the custody of judicial agencies, special judicial units, or judicial personnel is an integral part of the practice and procedure in and administration of the courts.
Committee note: The Public Information Act (Code, General Provisions Article, § 4-301 (2)(iii)) recognizes that authority by requiring a custodian of a public record to deny inspection of a public record if inspection would be contrary to a Rule adopted by the Court of Appeals.
(b) General Intent. The intent of this Chapter is to (1) adopt comprehensive principles and procedures that will maintain the traditional openness of judicial records, subject only to such shielding or sealing that is necessary to protect supervening rights of privacy, safety, and security, and (2) provide an efficient, credible, and exclusive system for resolving disputes over inspection decisions by custodians of judicial records.
(c) Categories of Judicial Records.
(1) Generally. Judicial records fall into five categories:
(A) Notice Records--those, such as land records, that are filed with circuit court clerks for the sole purpose of recording, preserving, and providing public and constructive notice of them;
(B) Administrative Records--those that relate to personnel, budgetary, or operational administration; information technology; the safety and security of judicial personnel, facilities, equipment, or programs; the development and management of electronic data; or that constitute judicial or other professional work product;
(C) License Records--those that relate to the issuance of licenses by Circuit Court clerks pursuant to statutes;
(D) Case Records--those that were filed with the clerk of a court in connection with litigation that was filed in or transferred to the court; and
(E) Special Judicial Unit Records--those maintained by four special judicial units that are subject to special rules of confidentiality.
(2) Treatment.
(A) Although there is a presumption of openness applicable to all five categories of judicial records, some present special concerns that require more focused treatment with respect to sealing or shielding decisions.
(B) Because the principal function of notice records is to give public notice of them, very few exceptions to public access are warranted. Case records and certain kinds of administrative records may contain very sensitive information that needs to remain confidential for overarching privacy, safety, and security purposes and not be subject to public inspection.
(C) License records are similar to public records maintained by Executive Branch licensing agencies, and public inspection of them is generally consistent with what is allowed under the PIA or other statutes.
Source: This Rule is new.

Credits

[Adopted June 29, 2020, eff. Aug. 1, 2020.]
MD Rules, Rule 16-902, MD R CTS J AND ATTYS Rule 16-902
Current with amendments received through January 1, 2022. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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