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Retention of Court Records - Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
49 pages
This Australian report discusses the length of time and the manner in which the records of courts of petty sessions and local courts should be retained. It is not concerned with the privacy aspects of storage of records or whether a person's criminal record should be eliminated after a certain period of time.
The Law Reform Commission of Western Australia recommends that under certain conditions the person having custody of a record of the court of petty sessions should be empowered to destroy it after 15 years from the date of the commencement of the proceeding. Similarly, under certain conditions, the record of a local court may be destroyed after 15 years from the date of commencement of the action or matter. In accordance with present practice, tape recordings of proceedings of courts of petty sessions and local courts should be retained for 12 months after they are made; or for the period of time allowed for instituting an appeal; or where an appeal is instituted, until the appeal is finally determined, whichever is the longest. Also, the courts of petty sessions and the local courts should publicize that their records may be destroyed after 15 years. These recommendations should be implemented both in country area courts and metropolitan courts. Finally, the legislation relating to the destruction of these records should be subject to the State's archival legislation. (Author abstract modified)


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