Welcome to MuckRock's Hawaii Uniform Information Practices Act appeal guide!

Each entry provides background and context about an exemption to the public records laws in all fifty states, as well as federal FOIA. Read more about Hawaii's public records law or explore all our expert FOIA guides. Have a public records appeal or information on an exemption we should include? Consider sharing your knowledge with everyone by donating your FOIA appeal language.

Absent Records

Thank you to Jessie Gomez and Civil Beat Law Center for contributing to this entry. This guide is for informational purposes only, is general in nature, and is not legal opinion nor legal advice regarding any specific issue or factual circumstance.

An agency claims that it does not possess the records, therefore rejects the request.

Example Appeals

Please provide further clarification regarding the assertion that the agency does not maintain the records requested, including a more detailed explanation regarding the whereabouts of the records, or clarification that no such record is maintained by this agency or any other related agency. If this agency searched for records, but could not find any information responsive to the request, please explain the steps taken to search.

A request also cannot be denied simply because it is in the possession of a government contractor or other agency. The UIPA is intended to “sweep as broadly as possible” and to include information “controlled in any way by an agency.” OIP Op. Ltr. No. 95-15 at 1-2. Control “refers to the power or authority to manage, direct, or oversee, or to exercise restraining or directing influence over, and also relates to authority over what is not in one’s physical possession.” OIP Op. Ltr. No. 97-02 at 4. If this agency has control over the record in any way, it is obliged to obtain access and provide a copy to the requester. OIP Op. Ltr. No. 95-15 at 7.

Proper Use

If another unit within this agency has a copy of the requested information, the request cannot be denied, but must be promptly forwarded to the appropriate unit. HAR § 2-71-13(d). Forwarding a request to another unit in the agency is not appropriate when the other unit is subordinate to the unit that originally received the request. OIP Op. No. 00-03 at 10.

Improper Use

The agency rejects the request because it does not have access or jurisdiction over the records requested. In addition, the agency does not provide adequate reasoning nor does it forward the request to the correct entity. If the records exist at another agency, and this agency does not have a copy, this agency must provide contact information for the other agency.

Key Citations

HAR § 2-71-13(d)

HAR § 2-71-14(c)