Module 4: Appeals

Section 4.4 Options for appealing a denial (63G-2-402)

If the chief administrative officer of a governmental entity makes an “appellate affirmation,” which means a decision to affirm the denial of a record, the requester or an interested party may appeal that decision.

Local appeals board

Appeal must be made to the local appeals board if the governmental entity has established one. The time limits and details of appeal to a local appeals board will be established by local policy or ordinance. However, GRAMA requires that a local appeals board be made up of three members:

Decisions of a local appeals board can be appealed to the state records committee or district court by either the governmental entity or the requester. An appeal before the state records committee of the decision of a local appeals board is not “de novo,” but the records committee will review the decision of the local board. (Subsection (5)(b), 63G-2-403(1)(b))

State records committee

If the governmental entity is part of state government or is a local governmental entity that has not established a local appeals board then a requester or interested party can appeal to the state records committee or petition for review in district court. Appeals to the state records committee and the district court are conducted “de novo,” which means that they make independent decisions. Both the state records committee and the district court may review the records and documents “in camera” or in private. The governmental entity must be able to provide the disputed records at the hearing. The state records committee may permit a governmental entity to bring a representative sample of records for voluminous records requests. (Rule R35-1. State Records Committee Appeal Hearing Procedures)