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2019 California Rules of Court

Rule 2.515. Application and scope

(a) No limitation on access to electronic records available under article 2

The rules in this article do not limit remote access to electronic records available under article 2. These rules govern access to electronic records where remote access by the public is not allowed.

(b) Who may access

The rules in this article apply to remote access to electronic records by:

(1)  A person who is a party;

(2)  A designee of a person who is a party;

(3)  A party's attorney;

(4)  An authorized person working in the same legal organization as a party's attorney;

(5)  An authorized person working in a qualified legal services project providing brief legal services; and

(6)  A court-appointed person.

Rule 2.515 adopted effective January 1, 2019.

Advisory Committee Comment

Article 2 allows remote access in most civil cases, and the rules in article 3 are not intended to limit that access. Rather, the article 3 rules allow broader remote access-by parties, parties' designees, parties' attorneys, authorized persons working in legal organizations, authorized persons working in a qualified legal services project providing brief services, and court-appointed persons-to those electronic records where remote access by the public is not allowed.

Under the rules in article 3, a party, a party's attorney, an authorized person working in the same legal organization as a party's attorney, or a person appointed by the court in the proceeding basically has the same level of access to electronic records remotely that he or she would have if he or she were to seek to inspect the records in person at the courthouse. Thus, if he or she is legally entitled to inspect certain records at the courthouse, that person could view the same records remotely; on the other hand, if he or she is restricted from inspecting certain court records at the courthouse (e.g., because the records are confidential or sealed), that person would not be permitted to view the records remotely. In some types of cases, such as unlimited civil cases, the access available to parties and their attorneys is generally similar to the public's but in other types of cases, such as juvenile cases, it is much more extensive (see Cal. Rules of Court, rule 5.552).

For authorized persons working in a qualified legal services program, the rule contemplates services offered in high-volume environments on an ad hoc basis. There are some limitations on access under the rule for qualified legal services projects. When an attorney at a qualified legal services project becomes a party's attorney and offers services beyond the scope contemplated under this rule, the access rules for a party's attorney would apply.

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