Courts are not subject to the open records and open meetings laws. Instead, North Dakota courts maintain and dispose of court records in accordance with the rules, policies, and procedures adopted by the North Dakota Supreme Court. N.D.C.C. § 27-05.2-06. The North Dakota Supreme Court has promulgated Administrative Rule 41, which provides a comprehensive framework for public access to court records. N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R. 41. The rule may be found online at http://www.ndcourts.gov/rules/Administrative/frameset.htm.
It is generally assumed that a right of access to courts and court records exists, in the absence of an explicit exception. The North Dakota Supreme Court has held, for example, that the public has a right to inspect the records of judicial proceedings after the proceedings are completed and entered in the docket. State ex rel. Williston Herald, Inc. v. O’Connell, 151 N.W.2d 758 (N.D. 1967). The right is subject to reasonable rules and regulations by the court as to who may inspect the records and where and how such inspection may be made. Id. Additionally, court dockets are open to the public. Minot Daily News v. Holum, 380 N.W.2d 347 (N.D. 1986).