New Jersey OPRA Blog - How to File an OPRA Request

Filing an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request should be a very simple process. Although we encourage individuals to explore the archives on this blog for in-depth information, here’s a quick “how to” guide:

Step 1:

Identify the Records Custodian! The records custodian is the person who handles the agency’s OPRA requests. OPRA designates the municipal clerk to be the records custodian for municipalities. All other agencies must choose a custodian. For county governments, generally the Clerk to the Board of Chosen Freeholders is the designated custodian. The overwhelming majority of agencies will identify the custodian on the their websites and provide information about filing OPRA requests.

Note that the Judiciary is not subject to OPRA. Many court records can be found via e-courts: click here and look for “Find a Case.” A court records request form is here.

Step 2:

Draft a Valid OPRA Request! A valid request must sufficiently identify the documents that are being requested. Click here for detailed assistance on drafting a valid request and here for detailed assistance about requesting emails.

Step 3:

Submit Your Request! Here are some important things to know:

Step 4:

Receive a Response! Here are important things to know:

Step 5:

Challenge Unlawful Denials! A requestor has only 45 days to file a lawsuit if a request is unlawfully denied, so act fast. More information can be found here.  Pashman Stein Walder Hayden generally litigates most OPRA cases on a contingency basis at no charge to a requestor.

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