For more information, please consult the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press's state-by-state guide to access to court records. Under N.
Request a Public Record | North Carolina Judicial Branch
See Virmani v. Presbyterian Health Servs. North Carolina law provides a right of access to all court records, both civil and criminal, in both the general public records law, N. The court records statute requires that all records be open to public inspection, except as prohibited by law.
Some court records are specifically named in another statue as being public unless sealed by the court: "arrest and search warrants that have been returned by law enforcement agencies, indictments, criminal summons, and nontestimonial identification orders. You will likely not have access to certain documents, however, such as civil commitment materials, juvenile delinquency records, and information from child abuse or neglect cases.
A court may deny access to records "when its use is required in the interest of the proper and fair administration of justice or where, for reasons of public policy, the openness ordinarily required of our government will be more harmful than beneficial.
Public Records & Open Meetings
If you wish to challenge an order closing court records, you should get legal assistance to determine how best to proceed. North Carolina law explicitly grants you the ability to assert your right of access to records from a civil proceeding and to immediately appeal if your request is denied. See N.
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