Statutory Citation: A.R.S. §§ 39-101 to -161

Definition of Public Record

The Arizona Public Records Law has been in existence for more than 100 years and mandates that all public records be open to inspection by any person at all times during office hours. Public records include books, papers, maps, photographs or other documentary materials. Lake v. City of Phoenix recently established that digital meta-data, attached to files stored in any electronic form are considered part of that document and are thus subject to open records requests. 1

Exemptions to Public Records

The Arizona Public Records Law does have some exceptions which include: student records, research records, donor information, or if the release of a record would constitute an invasion of personal privacy and that invasion outweighs the public’s right to know, of if the disclosure of a record is detrimental to the best interests of the state. Arizona law also requires individuals who are making a FOIA request for commercial purposes to state those purposes. Exempt: Adoption records; disciplinary records of some professional groups; some medical records; some corrections department records; bank records; and trade secrets. 2

Who Can Make The Request?


Response Timeframe

There is no specific timeframe

Information on Fees

Agencies can charge fees, except for those records being requested with the intention of being presented to the U.S. government or a division thereof in relation to a claim, insurance, or other benefits. A.R.S. § 39-121.02 3

Enforcement Mechanisms

There are no administrative appeals options. However, you can take the matter to court. Those with prevailing challenges may be awarded attorney fees. – A.R.S. § 39-121.02 4

Attorney Fees

You can collect attorney’s fees. “The court may award attorney fees and other legal costs that are reasonably incurred in any action under this article if the person seeking public records has substantially prevailed. Nothing in this subsection shall limit the rights of any party to recover attorney fees, expenses and double damages pursuant to section 12-349.” – A.R.S. § 39-121.02 5

Do You Want to Make a Public Records Request?

The public records process begins with a public records request. Our guide outlines best practices for drafting well-defined requests for public information.

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Questions? Contact the Goldwater Institute.

If you have any questions regarding this guide or your rights to public information, please contact the Goldwater Institute at to determine if the Institute can help you access information necessary to hold your government accountable.

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