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60-2617. Sealing or redacting court records; closing a court proceeding; motion; notice; hearing; exceptions. (a) In a civil or criminal case, the court, upon the court's own motion, may hold a hearing or any party may request a hearing to seal or redact the court records or to close a court proceeding. Reasonable notice of a hearing to seal or redact court records or to close a court proceeding shall be given to all parties in the case. In a criminal case, reasonable notice of a hearing to seal or redact court records or to close a court proceeding shall also be given to the victim, if ascertainable.

(b) After the hearing, the court may order the court files and records in the proceeding, or any part thereof, to be sealed or redacted or the court proceeding closed. If the court grants such an order, before closing proceedings or granting leave to file under seal, the court shall make and enter a written finding of good cause.

(c) In granting the order, the court shall recognize that the public has a paramount interest in all that occurs in a case, whether at trial or during discovery and in understanding disputes that are presented to a public forum for resolution.

(d) Good cause to close a proceeding or seal or redact records, whether upon the motion of a party, or on the court's own motion, does not exist unless the court makes a finding on the record that there exists an identified safety, property or privacy interest of a litigant or a public or private harm that predominates the case and such interest or harm outweighs the strong public interest in access to the court record and proceedings.

(e) Agreement of the parties shall be considered by the court but shall not constitute the sole basis for the sealing or redaction of court records or for closing the court proceeding.

(f) The provisions of this section shall not apply to proceedings under the revised Kansas code for care of children, K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 38-2201 et seq., and amendments thereto, the revised Kansas juvenile justice code, K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 38-2301 et seq., and amendments thereto, the Kansas adoption and relinquishment act, K.S.A. 59-2111 et seq., and amendments thereto, to supreme court rules which allow motions, briefs, opinions and orders of the court to identify parties by initials or by familial relationship or to supreme court rules which require appellate court deliberations to be kept in strict confidence. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the issuance of a protective order pursuant to subsection (c) of K.S.A. 60-226, and amendments thereto.

(g) The provisions of this section shall not preclude a court from allowing a settlement which includes a confidentiality clause to be filed under seal where the interests of justice would be served by such settlement being filed under seal.

History: L. 2008, ch. 90, ยง 1; July 1.

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