Administrative Rule 19 - COURT RECORDS MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Section 1. Statement of Authority and Policy. a. Under Article VI, Section 3 of the North Dakota Constitution, the Supreme Court has
authority to promulgate rules of procedure to be followed by all courts of this state, including
rules regarding the administration of court records. The Legislative Assembly has encouraged
this process under Sections 27-02-05.1 and 54-46-06, NDCC. b. A goal of the North Dakota Judicial System is to establish a uniform judicial records
management program. c. The Supreme Court recognizes the need to provide a court records policy that specifically
addresses the retention and disposition of court records. This records retention and disposal
procedure is established to meet this administrative goal.
Section 2.Administrative Responsibilities. a. The State Court Administrator is the court records administrator and is responsible for
developing a retention and disposition schedule of court records. The State Court Administrator
may obtain the services of the State Records Administrator to develop and monitor the record
disposal report identified in Section9 and to otherwise provide program services described in
Chapter54-46, NDCC. b. The clerk of district court in each county is responsible for the retention and disposition of all
district court case records in accordance with the case records retention schedule. c. The judge of a municipal court or a clerk designated by the judge is responsible for the
retention and disposition of all municipal court case records in accordance with the case records
retention schedule. d. The administrative records custodian is responsible for the retention and disposition of all
administrative records in accordance with the administrative records retention schedule. Each
district and municipal court shall designate an administrative records custodian to manage
retention and disposition of the administrative records under the court’s jurisdiction. The State
Court Administrator shall designate one or more administrative records custodians to manage
retention and disposition of administrative records of the commissions, boards, committees, and
offices under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
Section 3.Scope of Supreme Court Rule and Inconsistent Statutes. a. This rule applies to all court records under the jurisdiction of the clerks of district court,
municipal judges, and to commissions, boards, committees, and offices under the supervision of
the Supreme Court. b.The phrase Court records: the sum of all administrative and case records in the judicial branch. 1.Administrative record: court records that pertain to management, supervision or administration
of the court and are not part of a case record. 2.Case record: any document, action or information that is collected, received or maintained by a
clerk of court connected to a judicial proceeding. It may include an index, calendar, docket,
register of actions, official record of the proceeding, order, decree, judgment or minute order.
These may have been collected in a case management system that is used to track information.
Case records may contain both public and confidential information. Case records do not include
records that have been disposed of under court records management rules, or records to which a
court has access but which are not a part of the court records as defined in this Rule. means any document, book, paper, photograph, sound recording or other material regardless of
physical form or characteristics, made or received by the court pursuant to law or in connection
with the transaction of official court business.
Section 4.Permanent Retention Periods. a. Court records assigned "permanent" retention periods must be retained indefinitely by the
clerk or judge having jurisdiction over the case record or by the administrative record custodian
for an indefinite period of time. The permanent retention periods are subject to a review process
consistent with Section 8.6, NDRPR. b. Section 4(a) does not prohibit the clerk or judge having jurisdiction over the case records
assigned permanent retention periods or the administrative record custodian with responsibility
over administrative records assigned permanent retention periods from depositing such record
with the state archivist for preservation pursuant tounder Section 1012.
Section 5.Disposition of Court Records. The term "disposition" means: a. transfer of a record to the possession of the state archivist pursuant to under the procedure in
Section 1012; b.destruction by burning or shredding, if the record is confidential, destruction by method that
renders the content irretrievable, such as burning, shredding, pulverizing, sanitizing or
overwriting; or c. destruction by ordinary means, such as landfill or recycling, if the record is not confidential,
destruction by ordinary means, such as landfill, recycling or deleting.
Section 6. Case Records Disposition Record. The clerk or judge having jurisdiction over the case records shall keep a record of the disposition
of any court case record pursuant tounder the case records retention schedule. This record must
indicate the title of the record series, a description of the contents of the case record, the
inclusive years of the records disposed, and the date and the means of disposition.
Section 7. Case Records Disposition Process. The State Court Administrator will provide each clerk or judge having jurisdiction over court
case records with a case records retention schedule. The case records retention schedule must
identify and describe each record series, provide the retention period based upon the fiscal, legal,
administrative, and archival value of the records, and describe the method of destruction for each
series that may be destroyed. The State Court Administrator shall file a copy of the case records
retention schedule with the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The case records retention schedule
constitutes approval for disposition of all records that have met the timeframes established in the
Section 8.Procedures to Modify Record Retention Values. The following procedures apply when adding, changing, or deleting a record series from the
court records retention scheduleschedules. a. The person suggesting the changes must complete the Record Series Description, State Form
Number 2042, with the exception of the legal value, fiscal value, archival value, and records
control number. b. The completed Record Series Description must be sent to the State Court Administrator who
shall obtain the advice of the State Auditor, Attorney General, State Archivist and State Records
Administrator, to determine the administrative, legal, fiscal, and archival values of the records. c. A draft of the proposed addition, modification, or deletion of a record series must be submitted
to the Court Services Administration Committee for comments. d. The State Court Administrator shall issue a revision to the retention schedule if appropriate.
Section 9. Case Records Disposal Procedures. Each clerk or judge having jurisdiction over case court records may must dispose of records as
designated in the case records retention schedule and must complete in a case records disposal
report provided by the State Court Administrator or State Records Administrator. The duty to
dispose of case records is subject to the availability of staff and to legislative appropriations.
Each case record must be reviewed and approved for disposition by the clerk or judge having
jurisdiction over the court records. Unless otherwise noted in the case records retention schedule,
all non-permanent case records must be destroyed in accordance with Section 5(b) and (c). The
State Court Administrator, in cooperation with the Information Technology Department, shall
establish procedures and standards for the efficient and effective destruction of electronic case
records. All non-confidential records may be disposed of by landfill. All confidential records
must be shredded or burned. A record series must not be disposed of before the time approved in the retention schedule. If a
situation warrants early disposal of a record within a record series, the clerk or judge may
petition the State Court Administrator for early disposal of that record or may obtain an order
from the judge of the court. Section 10. Administrative Record Retention and Disposal Procedures. The State Court Administrator will provide an administrative records retention schedule to all
administrative records custodians. Each custodian must retain the records for the retention period
set forth in the administrative records retention schedule and should dispose of records after the
retention period has expired, subject to staff availability and legislative appropriations. Unless
otherwise designated in the administrative records retention schedule, all non-permanent records
must be destroyed in accordance with Section 5(b) and (c). The State Court Administrator, in
cooperation with the Information Technology Department, shall establish procedures and
standards for the efficient and effective destruction of electronic administrative records. A record series must not be disposed of before the time approved in the administrative records
retention schedule. If a situation warrants early disposal of a record within a record series, the
custodian may petition the State Court Administrator for early disposal of that record. Section 11. Extension of Retention Period. Any person, including the court, may request an extension of the retention period of a court
record by completing a form to be provided by the State Court Administrator’s Office and
submitting the form to the court with jurisdiction over the case records or to the State Court
Administrator for a request related to administrative records. The court will forward the request
to the State Court Administrator’s Office for consideration. The request must be submitted no
later than ninety days prior to the record meeting the retention deadline as set forth in the record
retention schedule. The request must state the reason for the extension request, the fiscal, legal,
administrative, or archival value of the records that justifies the extension, and the additional
retention time requested.
Section 1012.Transfer of Court Records to the State Archives. The State Court Administrator will provide in the Clerk of Court Procedures Manual procedures
for the transfer to the State Archives of court records determined to be of archival value. The
clerk of court, or judge, or administrative records custodian will contact the State Archivist when
the records are ready for transfer. Arrangements will be made by the State Archivist to take
possession of the records within 60 days of notice to the State Archivist. The State Archivist
shall complete a certification for archival transfer and send it to the clerk or judge after all
records have been transferred.
Section 1113.Microfilming Records. Records subject to this rule may be microfilmed for purposes of retention and storage. Records
microfilmed under this section must be microfilmed and maintained in accordance with the State
Standards for Microfilming North Dakota Public Records developed by the Information Services
Division. A copy of the standards must be included in the North Dakota Clerk of Court Manual.
Rule 19 was adopted effective Adopted effective January 1, 1995; amended effective November
1, 1998; Schedule amended effective August 1, 2001, to reflect the name change of the State Bar
Board to the State Board of Law Examiners; and Schedule amended effective February 1, 2014,
to extend the length of retention for certain records, Rule and Case Record Retention Schedule
amended effective ______.