Court records are under the control of the courts and not the Courts Service.

Article 23(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation lists the restrictions to the GDPR, “when such a restriction respects the essence of the fundamental rights and freedoms and is a necessary and proportionate measure in a democratic society”. 

The GDPR may be restricted in order to safeguard the state or its citizens in the case of:

  1. National security, defence and public security
  2. In cases where it is necessary for the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences
  3. In cases where it is necessary in the execution of criminal penalties, including safeguarding against and the prevention of threats to public security
  4. Other important objectives of general public interest of the European Union or of a Member State, particularly important economic or financial interests such as monetary, budgetary and taxation matters
  5. Issues of public health and social security of the European Union or of a Member State 
  6. The protection of judicial independence and judicial proceedings.

Furthermore, in the case of personal data processed by or on behalf of a court when acting in its judicial capacity, the data subject's rights and the obligations of the controller of that personal data as referred to in section 158(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018 (link) are restricted to the extent that the restrictions are necessary and proportionate to safeguard judicial independence and court proceedings.

The following rules have been made under section 158(3) of the Data Protection Act 2018 for the purpose of ensuring the effective application of a restriction under section 158(1):

Data Protection Act 2018 (section 158(3)) Rules 2018.pdf **insert

Persons wishing to have access to a court record in court proceedings to which they are a party should firstly make inquiries of the court office concerned.

The following rules apply to requests to access personal data contained in a court record by bona fide members of the press or broadcast media:

Data Protection Act 2018 (section 159(7) Superior Courts) Rules 2018.pdf **insert

Data Protection Act 2018 (section 159(7) Circuit Court) Rules 2018.pdf **insert

Data Protection Act 2018 (section 159(7) District Court) Rules 2018.pdf **insert

The following rules have been made governing the processing on behalf of a court of personal data controlled by that court when acting in its judicial capacity:

Processing of personal data contained in a record of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal or High Court

Data Protection Act 2018 (section 159(1)) Rules 2018.pdf **insert

Processing of personal data contained in a record of the Circuit Court

Data Protection Act 2018 (section 159(2)) Rules 2018.pdf **insert

Processing of personal data contained in a record of the District Court

Data Protection Act 2018 (Section 159(3)) Rules 2018.pdf **insert

Processing of personal data, other than a court record, controlled by a court when acting in its judicial capacity

Data Protection Act 2018 (section 159(4)) Rules 2018.pdf **insert

Court records are under the control of the judiciary.  Access to certain court records may be given to the parties concerned or their legal representatives.

Persons seeking access to court records should contact the court office where the case was heard. The court office staff will explain the procedures which apply.

Here is a list of contact details for all court offices.

Special procedures are in place for any party who wishes to apply for access to a recording of court proceedings (also know as the “DAR” recording) The rules of court governing the procedure to be followed when seeking access to any recording of court proceedings and the terms on which access may be allowed are prescribed in the following Statutory Instruments:

S.I. No. 99 of 2013 - District Court Rules (Recording of Proceedings) 2013 
S.I. No. 100 of 2013 - Circuit Court Rules (Recording of Proceedings) 2013
S.I. No. 101 of 2013 - Superior Court Rules (Recording of Proceedings) 2013

Any request for access to the record of court proceedings must be made by formal application to the trial judge in the proceedings, and on notice to the other party or parties to the proceedings.

It is a matter for the judge to decide whether, and in what format, access to a recording of court proceedings is provided.

If an application for court recordings has been granted by the judge, the applicant must pay the cost of the recording. The cost of producing a transcript of a recording is approximately €200 per hour of audio recording.

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Please see the Contact Us page for further contact details if you have any queries in relation to the above.