Sealing of records refers to state laws that allow civil or criminal records to be stored away from public access. The nature of storing records varies widely by state with some states and the federal courts not recognizing the option at all; but in those that do, normally only a court can seal records. In many states, the records are simply hidden and can be accessed or recognized by a court in later litigation. In others, the records are destroyed completely or expunged. Each state limits what type of records can be sealed such as for juvenile records or for trade secrets.
[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]