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While the law in Ohio allows you to ask for a public record in a variety of ways, by far the most effective method is to request it in writing. Begin by writing down a list of the information you want. Then prepare a letter or email to the public agency. If you don’t know the addressee, contact the public agency’s main office and request the contact information for the employee who’s responsible for public records. It’s helpful if your correspondence includes your name and address, the date, and a daytime phone number. This makes it easy for individuals at the public agency to contact you if they have any questions.

Although you’re not required to submit your request on a specific form, the Court of Claims does provide a sample request form  for you to use. Please use sufficient detail to describe the information you need, so the public body can find the requested record(s). Providing as much information about the subject matter as possible helps to speed up the search process. However, it’s not necessary to specifically and accurately describe the record(s) or use the same name the public agency uses. As long as the public agency understands what you’re requesting, it must release that information (unless there is a legal exception).