Can I Appeal a Denial of my Request for Public Records under OPRA?

Yes, any person who is denied access to a government record may, at their option, institute a process to appeal that determination before either the Government Records Council or the New Jersey Superior Court:

Government Records Council (GRC)

Contact the GRC via email or by phone at: 866-850-051, or review the GRC website for information and to register your complaint. The GRC may be able to help resolve the problem over the phone. If not, you can receive a complaint form through the mail or from the website. When you file the written complaint, the GRC will offer you and the public agency non-adversarial, impartial mediation. If mediation is not agreed to, or fails, the GRC will investigate the complaint. The investigation may result in findings or a formal decision by the GRC, which may include a hearing by the Council. In some cases, the Council can award attorney fees or fine a records custodian for failing to provide records. Details of this process are available from the GRC. There is no fee to file with the GRC.

New Jersey Superior Court

Rather than proceed before the GRC, a person may start a summary (expedited) lawsuit in the Superior Court appealing a denial of access to government records. A written complaint and order to show cause must be filed with the court. The court requires a $200 filing fee, and you must serve the lawsuit papers on the appropriate public officials. The court will schedule a hearing and resolve the dispute. If you disagree with the court's decision, you may appeal the decision to the Appellate Division of Superior Court. If you are successful, you may be entitled to reasonable attorney fees.

Show All Answers

1. What is the Open Public Records Act or “OPRA”?
2. What is a Public Record?
3. What is the Process for Obtaining Public Records under OPRA?
4. What are the Fees for Obtaining Public Records?
5. Can I Appeal a Denial of my Request for Public Records under OPRA?