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State Records Guideline No. 5

Certification of Copies of State Archives

Issued: 13 July 2005   (download the formal issued MS Word version 57KB)


This guideline is issued under the provisions of Section 10A of the Archives Act 1983. Guidelines issued by the State Archivist under this Section set standards, policy, and procedures relating to the making and keeping of State records. This section also requires all relevant authorities to take all reasonable steps to comply with these guidelines, and put them into effect.

Ian Pearce
State Archivist

Table of Contents

1. Purpose

This guideline is to provide information about, and stipulate the process for, obtaining copies of State archives which have formal legal standing.

2. Process and Requirements

Section 19 of the Archives Act 1983 provides that as a general rule records that are more than 25 years old should not leave the custody of the State Archivist and should remain within the Archives Office.

Although there are mechanisms in the Act for records to be used outside the Archives Office for specified purposes, occasionally records that are part of the State archives are required to be formally presented or submitted for a range of evidentiary purposes, either by a government organisation or an individual to whom the record refers.

In order to avoid the necessity of these records leaving the custody of the Archives Office, the Act provides that certified copies of them can be made, and also provides that these copies have the same legal status as the original record. In normal circumstances therefore agencies required to produce records which are part of the State archives in courts or for other legal purposes, should obtain copies certified by the State Archivist, rather than considering submitting any original records.

This also provides a process for issuing a formal copy of a record where there is a formal requirement for this to be done even though there is no requirement for the production of the original record.

In accordance with Section 23 of the Archives Act 1983, the State Archivist may provide certified copies under seal for use in court proceedings and for other legal purposes.

Applications for such sealed certified copies should be made to the State Archivist and there may be additional costs associated with this process above normal copying costs.