U Memo 19-16

Posted on Jun 28, 2019 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 19-16
June 28, 2019
Oaths of Office

Requester asked the Judiciary for Judiciary staff attorneys’ oaths of office.  The Judiciary advised Requester that it did not maintain responsive records that were subject to the UIPA because the oaths of office were non-administrative court records, but it nonetheless offered to provide certified copies of the oaths to Requester subject to its court fee schedule, for a total cost of $24.00 to retrieve, copy, and certify the three oaths Requester sought.

Requester also asked the House Clerk for the oaths of office for three members of the House of Representatives and five members of the Senate.  The House Clerk advised Requester that no responsive records existed, because the House Clerk did not keep records of Senators and does not issue written and signed copies of the oath of office that is orally administered to House members.

OIP concluded that the UIPA does not require an agency to provide certified copies of records it maintains, so even assuming for the sake of argument that the attorney oaths of office would otherwise be “government records” subject to the UIPA, the Judiciary properly responded that for the purpose of the UIPA it could not provide the certified copies Requester sought because it did not maintain them.  See HRS § 92F-11 (2012).

OIP further concluded that the House Clerk was not required to perform a search for records because he had actual knowledge that no responsive records existed, and he responded properly under the UIPA by advising Requester that no responsive records existed.  See HRS § 92F-11.