The policy of openness and the requirements of checks and balances as mandated by law are just two of the reasons why public records exist. Even more important than these requirements in the existence of the collection of records known as the St. Johns County Public Records is the requirement of practicality. Public records are, after all, often the only types of documents that are accepted in official proceedings such as judicial sale and even in appellate procedures such as when a case is appealed to a higher court. The fact that they must be available at all times and in all circumstances for such a proceeding require that they be kept at one place where they could be easily accessed.
Public records always contain the name of the parties that are relevant to the case. More often than not, public records are named after the parties to the case, or at least, the party who initiated the proceeding because it is possible that the identity of the other party is not known. As the proceedings relevant to the specific public records proceeds, the contents of the records also grow so much so that by the time that the proceeding had ended, it is possible that the official records could contain more than a hundred pages.
The availability of the public records to a regular person is governed by law. Once more, the requirements of openness and checks and balances that are the basis of the law is subordinate to the requirements of practicality. It must be remembered that these records must always be available to the public and because of this, the official custodian of these records, the clerk of courts, is not only under obligation to show the records to anyone who would validly request for them, but also not permitted to refuse anyone access to the records.
For a person who wishes to view the records, the first place to look would be the office of the clerk of court. It is within the walls of this office that the official records are kept, but there are certain procedure that must be followed in order to ensure that the records are secured and for an orderly business. The first thing that is required is permission to view the records, but this is easily obtainable as the searcher only needs to show up personally at the office and make the request there.
Now, once permission had been given, the searcher may, at his option, do the search himself, or he may ask a clerk to do it for him. Presumably, the clerk would locate the record faster being more familiar with the filing system. Once the records had been located, the originals may be copied for one dollar per page, and certified for two dollars per document. The originals themselves could not be removed from the archives where the records are kept for reasons that they must be preserved for posterity.
Another way of looking for records would be to look for them online. There are a number of online databases that provide basically the same information as the records that may be found within the office of the clerk of court, but because these are done using the internet, they are faster and are often free of charge. In addition, because they are internet searches, these databases are often connected with other larger databases that provide other types of information that may be of further use to the searcher.