At the Monmouth County, N.J., Courthouse, obtaining a copy of a 100-page civil case costs $75. In Union and Somerset counties, that same document costs $32.50. In one county, you might get the copy in a day. In other places, a week. And in yet another, it might take even longer. Today, a committee of 13 judges and court administrators will present to the Judicial Council its interim recommendations on how to bring uniformity to the process.
Any recommendations would ultimately be submitted to the state Supreme Court. A spokesman said the initiative was designed “to promote prompt access to the records” and standardize the fees. Guy Baehr, corresponding secretary for the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, said establishing uniform procedures for accessing court records is desirable so long as it is not “taken as an opportunity to close records that have customarily been public.” Yesterday, the state Administrative Office of the Courts published a user’s guide to New Jersey’s civil courts, available online at www.judiciary.state.nj.us/civil/ guide_civilcourts.pdf.