The Public Records Law provides that every person has a right of access to public information, whether it is to view or obtain copies of what is defined as a “public record.” (see Public Records--MGL 66:10).
The custodian may require the request to be in writing in order to provide the correct material, however s/he may not do so merely to delay providing the record. The custodian has up to ten business days to respond to the request. The response can be to provide the record, to outline the procedure that will be required to supply the record, or to provide a written denial based on one of the statutory exemptions.
If the request is lengthy and/or the retrieval process is complicated, the custodian may also assess a fee for the record, as well as a reasonable fee that may be required to search and generate a response to the request. The custodian is only required to provide records that are in existence and is not required to create a new record based on material in his/her custody to accommodate a specific request.
Code of Massachusetts Regulations 950 CMR 32.00 outlines the regulations of the Supervisor of Public Records in effectuating access to public records.
For further information, please also visit the Public Records Division website.