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Viewing files and copying documents in our office

This webpage explains how you can view case files in our office and copy or photograph documents.

Viewing files in our office

Before you view a file you will need to complete a declaration form which is available on our website or will be provided to you by a member of staff.

Files you request will be delivered to you in the seating area of our reception or in the Seán MacDiarmada room in office hours. It is not permitted to remove a file or any part of a file from these authorised areas. We ask that when you look through a file you:

  • respect the order of documents in the file and that you do not remove any document from the treasury tag attaching documents to the file cover.
  • handle the file carefully.
  • do not lean on the file or do any action that could damage the file.
  • turn pages carefully to avoid damaging or creasing.
  • only remove documents from one pouch at a time so that documents are not mixed up and you replace items from pouches back in the correct pouch.
  • do not make marks, notes, or place post-its on the documents in the file.
  • use the slips of paper or other identifiers provided to bookmark a file.
  • do not eat or drink when viewing files.

Please inform a staff member immediately if there are any problems with the file, for example, a document has become torn or is no longer attached to the treasury tag.

Copying documents and copyright law

All documents on a case file can be photocopied. However, copyright law places special conditions on certain documents such as drawings, maps and plans. To observe the law, we will attach a stamp to each copy of these documents to indicate that they are being made available for inspection only.

Before you view a file, you will have completed a declaration form which states that you:

  • understand that the file is being made available for viewing and for no other use.
  • agree that if you wish to make more copies of the document you must get permission from the person or organisation that created it originally (the copyright-holder).

These copyright restrictions do not apply to the Board Order, the Board Direction or the Inspector's Report.

Self-service photography of documents

You can take photographs of most documents on a case file with a camera, tablet, phone or other electronic device without flash or tripods. To take photographs you must ask our staff and have completed a declaration form. Due to copyright restrictions not all documents can be photographed. Items which cannot be photographed include:

  • any plans, drawings, sketches, photomontages.
  • any maps including Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) maps.
  • documents or information which are marked as copyright protected.

Items which cannot be photographed can be photocopied for you by a Public Access staff member. If you are unsure if a document is restricted, please ask a staff member for advice. See above for more information on copyright restrictions.

You should note that photographs you take of documents are subject to copyright, privacy and data protection legislation and are for your personal inspection and use. Breaching copyright, privacy and data protection laws is an offence. You are responsible for any copies made.

Our guide to self-service photography provides more details about taking photos of An Bord Pleanála case files.

Photocopies of documents

Subject to normal copyright rules explained above, you can buy a photocopy of any document on case files. If you require a large number of documents to be photocopied, you can make your request and the photocopies can be collected or posted at a later time. Only one copy per document is allowed.

Restrictions on use of document copies or photographs

An Bord Pleanála does not allow you to copy, publish, share, upload, or make public by any means (this includes electronic means such as social media or internet) any photocopies or photographs taken of case file documents.