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Bucks County Administration

Office of Open Records/Right to Know

The Bucks County Office of Open Records provides access to public information and enforces the state’s Right-to-Know law. Its function is to serve as a resource for citizens, public officials and members of the media in obtaining public records of Bucks County. 

When filing a RTK request, please make certain you are seeking records and not asking questions. The law governs the release of records, not answering questions or conducting research.

For more information on PA Open Records/Right to Know Laws, please visit the state website at: http://openrecords.state.pa.us

For all Court Related records requests, please see the Court Records section below.

For all Row Officer records requests, such as Clerk of Courts (criminal division), Prothonotary (civil division), or records from the Sheriff's Office, Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills, or Coroner, please see the Row Officer section below.

The Bucks County Open Records Officer can be reached at:

Karen L. Fanelli
55 E. Court St.
Doylestown, PA 18901
215-348-6466
Fax: 267-885-1656
OpenRecordsOfficer@buckscounty.org
(See below for Court Information and Court Officer)

How to request information?
You can make a request four ways: mail, fax, e-mail or in person.
The request must be sufficiently “specific” to allow the public body to identify what you are seeking.

Is there a form to obtain records?
Yes, a standard Bucks County Office of Open Records request form is available. You can:

Fee Structure

The Bucks County Office of Open Records established the following fee structure in accordance with the law. 

  • Copies: 25 cents per page (single sided copy or one side of a double sided black and white copy of a standard 8.5" X 11".)
  • Certifications: $5.00 per document (not including notary fees)
  • Postage Fee: May not exceed actual cost of mailing
  • Specialized Documents: Actual Costs (these include blue prints, color copies and non standard size documents.)
  • Statutory Fees: If a separate statute authorizes an agency to charge a set amount for a certain type of record, the agency may charge no more than that statutory amount. For example, a Recorder of Deeds may charge a copy fee of 50 cents per uncertified page and $1.50 per certified page under 42 P.S. § 21051.
  • Electronic Data: Rates set by the County's Open Records Office with approval of the State Open Records Officer.
  • Please note: The Office of Open Records requires pre-payment of fees when the expense to produce the requested record exceeds $100.00.

    The law requires the open-records officer to do the following:

    An Agency has five business days to respond in writing to: 1) grant the request, 2) deny the request (citing the legal basis for denial/partial denial) or 3) invoke a 30-day extension for certain reasons. The clock starts the day after the request is received during regular business hours.

    Acceptable grounds for a 30-day extension includes: off-site location of records, staffing limitations, need for legal review or redaction, complex request, or requester did not pay applicable fees as required, or failed to follow Agency policy.

    The office must stamp the date of receipt on the written request and compute the day on which the five-day period under Section 901 will expire and make a notation of that date on the written request.

    Bucks County's Office of Open Records will maintain an electronic or paper copy of a written request, including all documents submitted with the request until the request has been fulfilled. If the request is denied, the written request shall be maintained for 30 days. If an appeal is filed, the office will keep the records until a final determination is issued or the appeal is deemed denied. The office will create a file and keep all of the following:

    • The original request.
    • A copy of the response
    • A record of written communications with the requester

    If you wish to appeal a decision, Contact the State Open Records Office:

    PA Open Records Officer
    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    Office of Open Records
    Commonwealth Keystone Building
    400 North Street, Plaza Level
    Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225
    717-346-9903
    openrecords@state.pa.us

    Court Records

    Bucks County Court of Common Pleas/ Contact Information:

    As in the past, court records are available from the filing office of each individual court. For example, Civil Case information can be obtained through the Prothonotary, Criminal Case information through the Clerk of Courts, and District Court matters, as always, can be obtained through each respective Magisterial District Justice office.

    For Court Open Records information that does not fall within the above guidelines, the Court Open Records Officer is Stephen G. Heckman, Esq. Please note: The only administrative Court records available follow PA 509 Rules of Judicial Administration.

    Stephen G. Heckman, Esq.
    100 North Main Street
    Doylestown, PA 18901
    215-348-6700
    Fax: 215-348-6503
    courtrecordsofficer@buckscounty.org

    District Attorney's Office

    Each request will be processed in accordance with the RTK Law.  Please note that the request must be sufficiently “specific” to allow the District Attorney’s Office and the Open Records Officer to identify what is being sought. Should the request for records be granted, the requestor may be charged a fee of 25 cents per page. Should the request for records be denied as the record is confidential and protected from disclosure by an exception set forth in the RTK Law, by a recognized privilege, or by another law or statute, you will be notified of the denial in writing.

    All requests for records pursuant to the RTK Law, effective January 1, 2009, must be in writing, by fax, by e-mail or in person, and must be directed to:

    Open Records Officer
    Det. Lt. Robert M. Gorman
    District Attorney’s Office

    55 E. Court Street
    Fourth Floor
    Doylestown, PA 18901
    215-348-6344
    Fax: 215-348-6299
    darighttoknow@buckscounty.org

    Standard Right to Know Request Form

    A denial of a request for a criminal investigative record may be appealed.  In order to appeal a denial of a request for records, the original request must be in writing.  The appeal must be filed in writing within 15 days from the notice of denial and must state the specific grounds as to why the record requested is a “public record.”  An appeal of the denial of a request for a criminal investigative record must be forwarded to:

    Appeals Officer
    Karen A. Diaz

    Chief Deputy District Attorney
    District Attorney’s Office
    100 North Main Street
    Doylestown, PA 18901

    Appeals will be decided within 30 days of receipt of the appeal.

    Any further appeal of the decision of the appeals officer involving a request for a criminal investigative record must be forwarded to the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas.

    Row Offices

    For information and Right to Know requests, please contact the individual Row Offices:

    Clerk of Courts

    • Criminal Records/Files

    Coroner

    • Death Records

    Prothonotary

    • Divorce Decree
    • Civil Court Records
    • Civil Actions 

    Recorder of Deeds

    • Deeds

    Register of Wills

    • Marriage Certificates
    • Genealogy Searches
    • Wills