Archiving Revolution: Historical Records Management in the Massachusetts Courts

Ann Genovese, Trish Luker and Kim Rubenstein (eds.), The Court as Archive (ANU Press, Canberra, 2019) DOI: 10.22459/CA.2019.01

25 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2019

See all articles by Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson

Australian National University, College of Law; University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice

Date Written: February 18, 2019

Abstract

The lengthy history of the Massachusetts courts and their establishment as courts of record means that their records of proceedings contain a wealth of information about the development and growth of the colony as part of a nascent United States. Although Massachusetts’ courts are much older than the Federal Court of Australia, they have confronted similar issues in terms of records retention and the vexed question of what constitutes a ‘significant’ record that requires permanent retention. However, through a process of determining historical context, sampling and inspection, the Supreme Judicial Court found that a definition of ‘significance’ was largely unnecessary. This chapter provides an overview of the origins of the Superior Courts’ approach. It suggests that there are elements of the Massachusetts courts’ experience in the development, implementation and maintenance of court records may be valuable in approaching similar superior courts’ collections in Australia.

Keywords: court, archive, court records, court of record, Massachusetts, Federal Court of Australia

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K29, K30, K40

Suggested Citation

Henderson, Andrew, Archiving Revolution: Historical Records Management in the Massachusetts Courts (February 18, 2019). Ann Genovese, Trish Luker and Kim Rubenstein (eds.), The Court as Archive (ANU Press, Canberra, 2019) DOI: 10.22459/CA.2019.01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3338277

Andrew Henderson (Contact Author)

Australian National University, College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice ( email )

Australia

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