Jump directly to the content

Inspecting Church Records

Most state nonprofit corporation laws give members a legal right to inspect corporate records for a "proper purpose."

Key point 6-03.1. Church members generally have no right to inspect church records unless such a right is conferred by state nonprofit corporation law, a church's charter or bylaws, state securities law (if the church has issued securities), or a subpoena. Church records enjoy no privilege against disclosure, with the exception of documents that are protected by the clergy-penitent privilege under state law.

A New York court ruled that members of churches incorporated under the state nonprofit corporation law have a legal right to inspect church records so long as they act in good faith and for a proper purpose, and their request pertains to records that are relevant and necessary to the proper purpose.

A church member asked to inspect certain church records. When his request was denied, he asked a court to compel the church to turn over the records pursuant to a provision in the state ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related ResourcesVisit Store

2020 Human Resource Bundle
2020 Human Resource Bundle
Your one-stop-shop for Human Resource knowledge.
Record Keeping
Record Keeping
Learn best practices for protecting confidential documents.