Local Government Act, 1994

Records and archives of local authorities.

65.—(1) It shall be a function of a local authority, subject to the provisions of this section, to make arrangements for the proper management, custody, care and conservation of local records and local archives and for inspection by the public of local archives.

(2) A local authority may acquire, by purchase, donation, bequest or loan, and undertake the care and conservation of, archival material of local interest which is in the possession of any other person or body (including another local authority).

(3) The Minister may, after consultation with the Director of the National Archives, give advice or directions to local authorities in relation to any matter relating to local records and local archives and, in particular and without prejudice to the foregoing, in relation to—

(a) the retention, management, preservation, restoration and reproduction of local records and local archives,

(b) the certification of local records to be unsuitable for classification as local archives, and the review of such certification at specified intervals,

(c) the availability of local archives for public inspection,

(d) the making and provision of copies and extracts from local archives,

(e) circumstances in which local archives, or particular classes of local archives, may be withheld from public inspection,

(f) the preparation of guides, lists, indexes and finding aids to local archives,

(g) the lending of local archives to appropriate institutions, bodies and societies, whether in the State or elsewhere, and

(h) the disposal of local records and local archives.

(4) (a) In this section, “local records” includes books, maps, plans, drawings, papers, files, photographs, films, microfilms and other micrographic records, sound recordings, pictorial records, magnetic tapes, magnetic discs, optical or video discs, other machine-readable records, other documentary or processed material made or received, and held in the course of its business or as successor to any other body by a local authority and includes copies of any such records duly made, but does not include—

(i) grants, deeds or other documents of title relating to property for the time being vested in the local authority and

(ii) any part of the permanent collection of a library, museum or gallery.

(b) In this section, “local archives” includes—

(i) such records and documents (and copies of them) as are, at the commencement of this section, held by any local archives service operated by any local authority (whether alone or in co-operation with another person or body);

(ii) archival material acquired by a local authority pursuant to subsection (2);

(iii) other local records which are more than 30 years old, except such records as are certified, in accordance with directions under subsection (3), to be unsuitable for classification as local archives.

(5) Section 13 of the National Archives Act, 1986 shall cease to have effect in relation to records or documents of a local authority.

(6) Without prejudice to subsection (3), the National Archives Advisory Council may advise the Minister on any matter affecting local archives and their use by the public.

(7) Nothing in this section shall affect any rights of a person claiming to be the owner of a document to recover the document.

(8) The making or supplying of reproductions by or under the direction of a local authority of archives which are held in accordance with this section and are open to public inspection shall not, subject to any terms or conditions under which archival material was acquired under subsection (2), infringe the copyright of such archives.

(9) A person shall not conceal, damage or destroy archives held in accordance with this section and shall not remove, publish or reproduce the whole or any part of any such archives without the written consent of the relevant local authority.

(10) A person who contravenes subsection (9) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,000.