Can Members of the Public View Knox County Records?
In Tennessee, unless a law or regulation states otherwise, government records must be made available for viewing. There is no requirement for a "Freedom of Information Act" formal request. Listed below are a few examples of records series which are open and some which are confidential.
Records Which Are Open to the Public
- Court Records (except for Juvenile Court)
- County Financial Records
- Construction Plans (submitted to Codes Administration for approval)
- Property Assessment & Tax Records
- Minutes of County Commission Meetings
Please be aware that Records Management fills requests for specific documents. We are not equipped to be a third-party research organization. Therefore, it is of great help to know as much as possible when asking about records. It is usually a good idea to call the office which created the record and get docket numbers, permit numbers, names, dates, etc.
Most permanent-value, historical, county documents which are twenty-five or more years old are housed in the Knox County Archives , East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. The telephone number is 865-215-8000. Visit the Archives and McClung Historical Collection Web Sites for more on historical records, genealogy, manuscript collections, and photographs.
Fees for photocopies are: $5 for a two-sided certified copy or .15 cent per page for non certified. There is a $30.00 charge for checks that are returned as unpayable.
Records Which Are Confidential
As stated in the opening paragraph, most government records are available for viewing. Here are two exceptions:
School Records (transcripts, standardized test scores, etc.)
According to state and Federal law, access to student records is restricted. Please be patient and understanding when Records Management insists upon presentation of valid identification and/or signed release forms from former students. Parents and legal guardians can obtain copies of school records for children who are not yet eighteen.
Juvenile Court Records
Individuals who wish to see Juvenile or other Court records regarding adoptions, foster home placement, or custody must obtain permission from Juvenile Court before access can be granted. Contact the Court at: 865-215-6500.