Requesting copies of records in child protection proceedings

Transcripts of a child protection court proceedings can only be released where legislation allows release to a person or entity, or where a court order directs release of the transcript.

Section 187 of the Child Protection Act 1999(CPA) sets out the situations in which a public service employee can disclose information and documents in a child protection proceeding:

  1. When they (the public service employee) are performing their job under or in relation to the CPA: s187(3)(a) CPA
  2. For purposes related to a child’s protection or wellbeing: s187(3)(b) CPA
  3. For the chief executive’s function of cooperating with government entities that have a function relating to child protection: s187(3)(c) CPA
  4. To enable the chief executive’s functions under the Adoption Act 2009: s187(3)(c)
  5. As otherwise required or permitted under the CPA or another act: s187(3)(c)
  6. To protect a person from a serious or imminent risk to a their safety or health: s187(3)(d)
  7. Where the document is about the person requesting it – but only the information that is about that person: s187(4) and
  8. To enable the chief executive to administer Chapter 4 of the CPA: s187(4).

The CPA does not allow a respondent parent in a child protection proceeding to inspect or obtain a copy of a child protection record, including transcripts of Child Protection Court events – this means that if you are a respondent parent in a child protection proceeding, no provision of the CPA allows you access to court documents or transcripts.

If you require access to a copy of court records or a transcript you will need to apply to the Court for an order directing release of the item.

The application for an order should be made in writing to the Court that heard the child protection matter.

Contact details for each courthouse are listed on the Courthouses contacts page.

When requesting access to court records or a transcript you will need to include the following information:

  1. the name of the proceeding
  2. the file number of the proceeding
  3. your relationship to the proceeding
  4. why you require access to the transcript and
  5. when you need access to the transcript.

A Magistrate or Judge will decide whether or not to make an order releasing the transcript to you. This is generally done by the Magistrate or Judge without a hearing. You will be notified if you need to appear before the Magistrate or Judge.

Do not delay making this application if you require access to the transcript to provide submissions to the court or for the purposes of filing an appeal.  Appeals are required to be filed within 28 days of the order being made.