New Missouri Supreme Court rules sealing of case information

ST. LOUIS – A new Missouri Supreme Court rule that takes effect July 1 will make it harder for judges to seal pending court cases from public view without explanation.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the state Supreme Court adopted the rule in May that requires judges to issue a court order if they want to restrict access to case files. Judges will be required to set forth “specific written findings supporting a compelling justification to restrict access.”

The ruling echoed a 2001 Supreme Court case stating that public records “are freely accessible to ensure confidence in the impartiality and fairness of the judicial system, and generally to discourage bias and corruption in public service.”