A recently published pocket guide for federal judges focuses on the occasional need to seal court records and proceedings.
Published by the Federal Judicial Center, the 22-page pocket guide draws on the voluminous case law to discuss the process courts use to keep some of the proceedings and records confidential.
The guide states: “Essential to the rule of law is the public performance of the judicial function. On occasion, however, there are good reasons for courts to keep parts of some proceedings confidential . . . Usually that means that any transcript made of the proceeding will be regarded as a sealed record.”
The guide (pdf) offers a procedural checklist of considerations when a record is sealed or when a proceeding is closed to the public.