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Judicial records in civil matters (including appeals) often contain personal and private
information about litigants, witnesses, and third parties. Civil matters with
obvious privacy implications include such things as divorce, adoption, custody,
and medical liability cases, but even traditional business disputes often include
personal and private records of the parties.
Though judicial records should generally be kept open to the public, courts
will have to come to terms with the need for issuing protective orders in order to
prevent inappropriate exposure of private facts about litigants and witnesses. They
will need to be watchful of legitimate privacy claims, while observing the strong
public interest in open judicial records.
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