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I am seeking judicial review of a State Review Officer decision. How can I obtain a certified copy of the administrative hearing record before the State Review Officer for the Court's review?

Instructions for Requesting a Certified Copy of the Administrative Hearing Record to Submit to a Court

All requests by a school district or parent for a certified copy of the administrative record must be made in writing to the Office of State Review.  Telephonic requests will not be accepted or processed.

The Office of State Review is capable of reproducing a hardcopy of the administrative record, but does not have the capacity to produce or file certified copies of administrative records in conformance with the electronic filing rules that school districts or parents must generally follow when seeking judicial review in a federal court (e.g. via CM/ECF).  In the experience of the Office of State Review, Courts have generally been accommodating when parties request that the certified administrative record be provided by the Office of State Review via hard copy.  Electronic portions of hearing records (e.g., electronic transcripts on CD-ROMs, exhibits in electronic form on CD-ROMs, etc.) are always copied "as is" and provided for a Court together with the hard copy of the administrative hearing record.

A single written request may be made in the following manner, provided it includes all of the following information:

a. SRO Appeal Number;  

b. Caption of Litigation & Court Index/Identification Number;

c. Name of the Presiding Judge, and, if applicable the assigned Magistrate Judge;

d. Name and address of the Court that will receive the certified copy of the administrative record, including the name of the individual to whom the certified administrative record should be sent; and,  

e. Confirmation in writing from the requesting party that they have communicated with the Court and ascertained the Court staff's (i.e. judicial law clerk's or administrative staff's) preferred method for receiving the administrative record. This policy ensures that the Court receives the certified copy of the administrative record in the manner that the receiving Court believes is appropriate in each case as each judge's individual practices and preferences vary considerably.  In the experience of the staff of the Office of State Review, the most common preferences expressed by individual court chambers are as follows:

  • Some court chambers prefer to accept a hard copy of the certified administrative record that has been sent to chambers directly from the Office of State Review. 
  • Alternatively, some court chambers express the preference that the record be filed electronically in accordance with the Court's CM/ECF rules and will ask either the school district's or parents' counsel to digitize the administrative record for that purpose.
  • Occasionally, chambers may also request that a party file the certified administrative hearing record in a manner that includes measures for shielding the student's personally protected information.

Upon receipt of a party's written request that meets guidelines a-e above, the Office of State Review will process the request and send a hard copy of the certified administrative record in accordance with the Court's preferences.  Any further questions, concerns, or requests about the certified administrative record (including acquiring copies of the certified record as submitted to the Court) should be directed to the Court. A copy of the table of contents of the administrative hearing record is transmitted to both parties at the time the record is transmitted. The Office of State Review does not provide additional record duplication services for the convenience of parties and/or counsel.

Form for Requesting a Certified Copy of the Administrative Record. PDF / MS Word.  The Office of State Review has prepared forms for your convience for requesting a certified copy of the administrative record.

Two-Stage Written Requests.  In the rare case that a party has filed an action seeking emergent relief (e.g. a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction) and believes the Court will require a certified copy of the administrative record quickly, the Office of State Review will allow for the submission of a request for the certified administrative record in two stages.  In the first stage, as soon as it becomes apparent that the court will need a copy of the administrative hearing record,  a written request may be filed that addresses items in guidelines a-d above and indicates that the requesting party will be inquiring with respect to how the court chambers prefers to receive the administrative record.  Once the party has had an opportunity to consult with court staff, in the second stage of the request, a second letter to the Office of State Review can be submitted by the requesting party confirming the information required by part e of the guidelines above that addresses how and from whom the court wishes to receive the certified administrative record.

Court Orders.  It is unnecessary to seek formal Court orders directing the production of a certified hearing record. A party requesting to have the certified administrative record provided to the Court by any method need not obtain a formal court order, but may merely identify in their written letter request to the Office of State Review the name of the Court personnel or the assigned Judge from whom the party has received the instructions and/or confirmation regarding record submission.

A copy of the certified administrative record will not be sent to counsel for a party unless such counsel has represented in a letter to the Office of State Review that he or she has obtained instructions from the judge's staff or the judge that specifically requests the Office of State Review to place the copy of the certified administrative record in the care and custody of the party.

Any practice by which a party unilaterally places dates and procedures for the Office of State Review to transmit a certified copy of the administrative hearing record in a proposed order to a Court without consulting the Office of State Review first is strongly discouraged.

Judcial Proceedings involving the State.  Although uncommon, the Office of the Attorney General may become involved with a judicial review proceeding in which an administrative record was file with the Office of State Review. Under those circumstances the Office of State Review typically coordinates with the assigned Assistant Attorney General with regard to reproduction of the certified administrative record.

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