North Carolina Public Records Law
The North Carolina Public Records Law is designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies in North Carolina. The first statute dealing with public documents in the state was passed in 1935. This law focused on the duty of government officials to preserve public records carefully.
The North Carolina Open Meetings Law legislates by which methods public meetings are conducted.
How to request public records in North Carolina
The act requires that all requests be directed at the public agency in custody of the records.
In North Carolina, the minimum requirement for making a public records request is verbal; this can be made in person at the respective Camden County office, or via telephone.
Purpose and Use
North Carolina law explicitly states that no individual making a request for records will be required to state a purpose. The act does not restrict the use of records as well.
Who may request public records?
Anyone may request public records in North Carolina. Public records are open to inspection by "any person".
North Carolina establishes two different types of records with two different fees. For un-certified copies, the department may charge only the actual cost of duplication not including the labor involved. However, if the search is expansive and requires a great deal of staff time, an additional special fee may be charged. The law indicates that fees for certified copies will be as indicated by law but does not indicate what law.
North Carolina is one of seventeen states that sets no absolute deadline for government agencies to fulfill FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests. Section § 132-6 of the NCGS states that a custodian of public records shall make them available "at reasonable times and under reasonable supervision by any person, and shall, as promptly as possible, furnish copies thereof upon payment of any fees as may be prescribed by law."