National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Historical and Legal Search Room Regulations

Historical and Legal Search Room Regulations

These regulations are enforced to protect our historical records from accidental or wilful damage.


Before entering the Historical Search Room or Legal Search Room, you must leave all bags, outdoor garments and umbrellas in the lockers at the front of General Register House. Please bring a £1 coin with you to operate the locker: it will be returned to you when you open the locker door again.  Please note that we cannot store luggage or large bags in our buildings - alternative arrangements should be made. Transparent bags are provided for any items you wish to take into the Historical and Legal Search Rooms. Cases used to carry laptop computers to the search rooms must be left in the locker rooms. Mobile phones or pagers must be switched off.

The following are strictly forbidden:

  • Pens
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Sharp objects.

You may only use a pencil or an electronic device such as a laptop computer or tablet for taking notes.

Seats in the Historical and Legal Search Rooms are allocated to you on a first-come, first-served basis. If for any reason, you leave your seat unattended for more than an hour and do not inform us, we reserve the right to re-allocate it to another reader and may also return the records that you are consulting to store.

Records are only issued to readers holding a current reader's ticket. You must hand this in before any documents are issued. Your ticket will be given back to you when all records have been returned and accounted for. Normally no more than 12 items per reader per day will be brought in from our out-store or three items issued to a reader at a time, except with the consent of the Head of the Historical and Legal Search Rooms or by prior arrangement. If you feel these arrangements may cause you difficulties please discuss your request with search room staff in advance or in person.

Where digital or microfilm surrogates have been created you will not be able to consult the original. Occasionally, documents may not be accessible either because of their physical condition or because they are part of an exhibition. If you are in any doubt please contact us.

Records must not be removed from the search rooms. You are responsible for all records issued to you until these are returned to the custody of a member of staff and checked. Any incidence of wilful damage or theft of the records will be treated as a police matter.

Copies of records may be provided, subject to the preservation needs of the material and any copying restrictions placed on it by depositors. We reserve the right to refuse to provide copies and to specify the reprographic process to be used.

Please see also:

PDF files require Acrobat Reader. Download Acrobat Reader free Get Acrobat Reader Free