I sent an open records request more than a week ago and I haven’t received a response. What should I do?

Open Records Law

Q: I sent an open records request more than a week ago and I haven’t received a response. What should I do?

A: It is mandatory for a custodian to respond to your open records request “as soon as practicable and without delay.” Sec. 19.35(4)(a), Stats. While the law does not require a response within a specified period of time, the length of time for a response will depend on the nature and the size of the request. See Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin Public Records Law: Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31-19.39 Compliance Outline 9 (2005). For example, responses to requests for microfilm or microfiche records may take longer than requests for hard-copy documents. If you have not received a response within a reasonable time, contact the custodian to determine whether your request was received and verify when you can expect a response consistent with the statutory guidelines. The Open Records Law provides a remedy for unreasonable “delay” in granting access to a record, as well as for improper denial of access. Sec. 19.37(1), Stats.

Disclaimer: The Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on the Wisconsin FOIC website are provided by Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. (LaFollette Godfrey & Kahn is the Madison office of Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.).

The information provided on this website is a service to the general public. The information provided is not legal advice. Do not act on this information without the advice of professional legal counsel, who must evaluate the facts of your situation in light of current laws before giving you legal advice.

Your use of this web site does not create an attorney-client relationship with our firm, Godfrey & Kahn, S.C., or with any of our attorneys. Please contact us directly if you would like to retain our firm as your legal counsel, www.gklaw.com. But do not send us confidential information until you have spoken with one of our attorneys. Before we can represent you, we must determine that no conflict of interest or other situation would prevent us from representing you. Our representation begins only after we complete our evaluation and agree in writing to represent you.