Ask an Expert Questions and Answers

The cost of Texas court records

Question: Are courts (criminal/civil/etc) bound by law to charge newspapers for printed copies of court documents? Our district court clerk says everyone–even the media–must pay a $1 per page for any  material printed for us. Is there a way around this?

Answer: Copying costs are set by statute, and they are more expensive for court records than for records of other government agencies.

Section 106.0611 of the Texas Government Code outlines the fees for copies of state district courts. For non-certified copies, the courts may collect “no more than $1” for each “page or part of a page.” (Tex. Gov’t Code Sec. 106.0611(15)).

You can ask the court to waive the fee, but you can also ask to look at the court record and take photos of the page with your phone. That’s free.

The court records fee structure is different than “government agencies” that are subject to the Public Information Act. Under that fee structure, set out in Rule 70.3 of the Administrative Code, standard copy fees are set at 10 cents per page.$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=1&pt=3&ch=70&rl=3


By Chip Stewart

Dr. Chip Stewart joined the Schieffer School from the University of Missouri, where he finished his Ph.D. while teaching and working at the Columbia Missourian.
Stewart is currently editor-in-chief of Dispute Resolution Magazine, a quarterly publication of the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association.
His journalism experience includes working as city editor of the Missourian. He is also a sports freelance writer and has worked as a sports public relations assistant at Southern Methodist University.
Stewart earned his law degree at the University of Texas and is licensed to practice both by the Texas bar and the Missouri bar. He worked as an attorney in Killeen in the late 1990s, practicing criminal, bankruptcy and family law. He also clerked in the Travis County Attorney's office.