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.
|Title of host publication||The Court as Archive|
|Editors||Ann Genovese, Trish Luker, Kim Rubenstein|
|Place of Publication||Canberra|
|Publisher||ANU E Press|
|Number of pages||25|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2019|