N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R. 19
Amended effective February 1, 2014
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 N.D.C.C. §§ 27-02-05.1 and 54-46-06.
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 Section 9 and to otherwise provide program services described in N.D.C.C. ch. 54-46.
b. The clerk of district court in each county is responsible for the retention and disposition of all district court records in accordance with the 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 records in accordance with the records retention schedule.
Section 4. Permanent Retention Periods.
a. Court records assigned "permanent" retention periods must be retained by the clerk or judge having jurisdiction over the record for an indefinite period of time. The permanent retention periods are subject to a review process consistent with N.D.R.Proc.R. § 8.6.
b. Section 4 (a) does not prohibit the clerk or judge having jurisdiction over the records assigned permanent retention periods from depositing such record with the state archivist for preservation pursuant to Section 10.
Section 5. Disposition of Court Records.
The term "disposition" means:
a. transfer of a record to the possession of the state archivist pursuant to the procedure in Section 10;
b. destruction by burning or shredding, if the record is confidential; or
c. destruction by ordinary means, such as landfill or recycling, if the record is not confidential.
Section 6. Records Disposition Record.
The clerk or judge having jurisdiction over the records shall keep a record of the disposition of any court record pursuant to the records retention schedule. This record must indicate the title of the record series, a description of the contents of the record, the inclusive years of the records disposed, and the date and the means of disposition.
Section 7. Records Disposition Process.
The State Court Administrator will provide each clerk or judge having jurisdiction over court records with a records retention schedule. The 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 records retention schedule with the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The records retention schedule constitutes approval for disposition of all records that have met the timeframes established in the schedule.
Section 8. Procedures to Modify Record Retention Values.
The following procedures apply when adding, changing, or deleting a record series from the records retention schedule.
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. Records Disposal Procedures.
Each clerk or judge having jurisdiction over court records may dispose of records as designated in a records disposal report provided by the State Court Administrator or State Records Administrator. 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. Transfer of 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 records determined to be of archival value. The clerk of court or judge 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 11. 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.