Appealing a Denial of Access to Public Records in Massachusetts

Anyone denied access to public records has the right of appeal to the Supervisor of Records. A records custodian must comply with a request for records within ten (10) business days. If a custodian fails to respond within ten (10) business days, a requester may file an appeal, so long as the appeal is filed within ninety (90) calendar days of the request. If a response has been provided, a requester may appeal within ninety (90) days of the response. To petition an appeal, you must send the Supervisor of Records copies of the following:

  1. The written request;
  2. The written response, if any; and
  3. A brief letter detailing the reason for the appeal.

You may mail, fax or email your appeal. See the Contact Us tab above for information on how to reach the Public Records Division. Requesters must also provide a copy of the appeal petition to the records custodian.

For more information on the appeals process, please see 950 CMR 32.08 (1) or our publication, A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law (PDF).