The Georgia Supreme Court has declared broadly that, “This court has sought to open the doors of Georgia’s courtrooms to the public and to attract public interest in all courtroom proceedings because it is believed that open courtrooms are a sine qua non of an effective and respected judicial system which, in turn, is one of the principal cornerstones of a free society.” R.W. Page Corp. v. Lumpkin, 249 Ga. 576, 578 (1982); see alsoAtlanta Journal v. Long, 258 Ga. 410, 411 (1988) (“Public access protects litigants both present and future, because justice faces its gravest threat when courts dispense it secretly. Our system abhors star chamber proceedings with good reason.”).
There are various special and unusual proceedings in which public access to court records or proceedings may be limited, such the following: HIV testing (5 M.R.S.A. § 19203), proceedings related to the Maine Assistance Program for Lawyers (14 M.R.S.A. § 164-A); hearings related to the control of communicable diseases (22 M.R.S.A. § 811(6)); petitions for court orders consenting to a minor’s abortion (22 M.R.S.A. § 1597-A(6)); and sterilization (34-B M.R.S.A. § 7014(1)).