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2021 California Rules of Court

Rule 8.401. Confidentiality

(a) References to juveniles or relatives in documents

To protect the anonymity of juveniles involved in juvenile court proceedings:

(1)  In all documents filed by the parties in proceedings under this chapter, a juvenile must be referred to by first name and last initial; but if the first name is unusual or other circumstances would defeat the objective of anonymity, the initials of the juvenile may be used.

(2)  In opinions that are not certified for publication and in court orders, a juvenile may be referred to either by first name and last initial or by his or her initials. In opinions that are certified for publication in proceedings under this chapter, a juvenile must be referred to by first name and last initial; but if the first name is unusual or other circumstances would defeat the objective of anonymity, the initials of the juvenile may be used.

(3)  In all documents filed by the parties and in all court orders and opinions in proceedings under this chapter, if use of the full name of a juvenile's relative would defeat the objective of anonymity for the juvenile, the relative must be referred to by first name and last initial; but if the first name is unusual or other circumstances would defeat the objective of anonymity for the juvenile, the initials of the relative may be used.

(Subd (a) adopted effective January 1, 2012.)

(b) Access to filed documents and records

For the purposes of this rule, "filed document" means a brief, petition, motion, application, or other thing filed by the parties in the reviewing court in a proceeding under this chapter; "record on appeal" means the documents referenced in rule 8.407; "record on a writ petition" means the documents referenced in rules 8.450 and 8.454; and "records in the juvenile case file" means all or part of a document, paper, exhibit, transcript, opinion, order, or other thing filed or lodged in the juvenile court.

(1)  Except as provided in (2)-(4), a filed document, the record on appeal, or the record on a writ petition may be inspected only by the reviewing court, appellate project personnel, the parties, attorneys for the parties, or other persons the reviewing court may designate.

(2)  Access to records in the juvenile case file, including any such records made part of the record on appeal or the record on a writ petition, is governed by Welfare and Institutions Code section 827. A person who is not described in section 827(a)(1)(A)-(P) may not access records in the juvenile case file, including any such records made part of the record on appeal or the record on a writ petition, unless that person petitioned the juvenile court under section 827(a)(1)(Q) and was granted access by order of the juvenile court.

(3)  A filed document that protect anonymity as required by (a) may be inspected by any person or entity that is considering filing an amicus curiae brief.

(4)  Access to a filed document or items in the record on appeal or the record on a writ petition that are sealed or confidential under authority other than Welfare and Institutions Code section 827 is governed by rules 8.45-8.47 and the applicable statute, rule, sealing order, or other authority.

(Subd (b) amended effective September 1, 2020; adopted as subd (a); previously amended and relettered effective January 1, 2012; previously amended effective January 1, 2014.)

(c) Access to oral argument

The court may limit or prohibit public admittance to oral argument.

(Subd (c) relettered effective January 1, 2012; adopted as subd (b).)

Rule 8.401 amended effective September 1, 2020; adopted effective July 1, 2010; previously amended effective January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2014.

Advisory Committee Comment

Subdivision (b)(2). Welfare and Institutions Code section 827(a)(1)(Q) authorizes a petition by which a person may request access to records in the juvenile case file. The petition process is stated in rule 5.552. The Judicial Council has adopted a mandatory form-Petition for Access to Juvenile Case File (form JV-570)-that must be filed in the juvenile court to make the request. This form is available at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courts.ca.gov/forms.

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