Statutory Citation: O.C.G.A. §50-18-70 et seq.

Definition of Public Record

Public records are those documents generated by individuals or groups in public office in the course of public service. 1

Exemptions to Public Records

Records in the Georgia Open Records Act that are exempt are records related to the provision of staff services to individual members of the General Assembly by the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office, the Senate Research Office, or the House Research Office, or GIS Data. Also, investigations; certain real estate documents; attorney-client privilege documents; and names of handgun carriers. 2

Who Can Make The Request?


Response Timeframe

3 days. 3

Information on Fees

It is permitted under the Georgia Open Records Act that an agency can charge $0.25 per page for copying costs, and more if specifically required by law. Search, retrieval and other administrative costs can also be charged but must be “in the most economical means available,” O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71(c). However, an agency may not charge a search or retrieval fee unless it poses “an unusual administrative cost or burden.” McFrugal Rental v. Garr, 262 Ga. 369, 418 S.E.2d 60 (1992). 4

Enforcement Mechanisms

According to the act itself, “[a]ny person knowingly and willfully violating the provisions of this article by failing or refusing to provides access to records not subject to exemption from this article or by failing or refusing to provide access to such records within the time limits set forth in this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $100.00.” O.C.G.A. § 50-18-74(a). This can be levied by the Attorney General through the complaint filing system, or through winning a civil action case which can be filed by any person or company. 5

Attorney Fees

Yes, the act expressly requires them in appropriate cases. “without substantial justification either in not complying with this chapter or in instituting the litigation, the court shall, unless it finds special circumstances exist, assess in favor of the complaining party reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred.” O.C.G.A. § 50-18-73(b) 6

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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