Journal of Law and Policy


Jordan Elias


 Public accountability requires open proceedings and access to documents filed with the courts. The strong policy favoring access to judicial records creates a presumption against sealing documents without a compelling reason.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that this presumption of access arises when a proceeding relates “more than tangentially” to the merits. This is a low standard under which many types of motions qualify for the compelling reasons test.  With too much litigation occurring in secret, courts can use the “more than tangential” standard proactively to keep electronic case dockets available to citizens.