Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula M. Carey solicits comments on of Trial Court Rule XIV Public Access to Court Records.

Trial Court Rule XIV was approved by the Supreme Judicial Court effective November 1, 2016.  The purpose of Rule XIV is to “provide public access to court records and information while protecting the security and privacy of litigants and non-litigants.”

Rule XIV, linked here, consists of six separate rules identified as: Scope and Definition, Access to Court Records in a Courthouse, Requests for Compiled Data, Requests for Bulk Data, Remote Access to Electronic Court Records and Correction of Clerical Error in Electronic Docket entry.  The Rule also includes an Addendum of Records Excluded from Public Access.

In approving Rule XIV, the Supreme Judicial Court provided provisional approval of Rule 5(b), Remote Access to Information in Electronic Form through the Attorney Portal, stating that the rule would be reconsidered upon further recommendations from the Chief Justice of the Trial Court. The Trial Court is now proposing to amend Rule 5(b) to reintroduce name searches in the Attorney Portal with additional safeguards. Prior to logging on to the Attorney Portal, attorneys will have to accept prohibiting them from data scraping or any other improper use of the data they access. The Terms of Use will include a statement that all searches may be audited and are subject to sanctions provided by law or court rule with violations reported to the Board of Bar Overseers. 

A copy of the proposed amendments to Trial Court Rule XIV, Rule 5(b) and the Terms of Use appear at the links below. Comments should be sent by email to or to Kim J. Wright, Esq., Executive Office of the Trial Court, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108, by November 30, 2017.