Opinion Letter No. 03-20
December 17, 2003
Oversight Committee for the First Circuit Family Court
A member of the public asked the OIP for an opinion
on the Judiciary’s denial of his request for records relating
to the Oversight Committee for the First Circuit Family Court (“Oversight
A portion of the Oversight Committee’s work
involved issues relating to court rules and other matters that control
the conduct of litigation and regulate the interaction between litigants
and the courts. That work was a nonadministrative function of the
Judiciary, and hence not subject to the UIPA. See Haw. Rev. Stat.
§ 92F-3 (1993). Nonetheless, the OIP assumed without deciding
that some part of the Oversight Committee’s work involved
issues relating to administrative functions of the Judiciary.
The Judiciary is not required to hold open meetings
under Part I of chapter 92, HRS, and the Oversight Committee meetings
were closed. Thus, minutes of the meetings were not required to
be made available as minutes of a meeting open to the public. See
Haw. Rev. Stat.
§ 92F-12(a)(7) (1993).
The Oversight Committee records as a whole were predecisional
and fell within the deliberative process privilege. In addition,
some portions of the records would disclose the identity of confidential
sources. Thus, the records could be withheld because their release
would frustrate a legitimate government function. See Haw. Rev.
Stat. § 92F-13(3) (1993).