Introduction

The Trial Court Record Retention Schedule was originally published in March 1982 and updated in September 1991. While the former addressed only the retention of administrative records, the latter added retention requirements for case papers, testimony, and trial exhibits. Certain changes and refinements to records retention requirements have been incorporated into this revision of the Schedule. These changes, together with formal instructions for transferring and retrieving records to/from the records storage centers, should further streamline records management practices throughout the Trial Court. Procedural steps remain the same for retaining, sampling, and destroying cases.

If an administrative record generated by your court is not listed in the Schedule, then the retention period should be the same as for a listed record that performs the same or similar function.

Different case types may have varying restrictions and retention periods. Attempting to identify restrictions "after the fact" has proved to be an impediment to destruction of case papers. It is suggested that courts develop systems or methods to identify or "tag" restricted cases while the case is still active, either at the time of origination or at the time of final disposition, depending on the restriction and ease of method.

The Trial Court Records Management Coordinator, Western Worcester District Courthouse, Trial Court Records Center, 544 East Main Street, East Brookfield, MA   01515. (508) 885-6033 michael.haire@jud.state.ma.us can provide additional information concerning this schedule and other aspects of the Trial Court's records management program.