Private papers, like public archives, often contain sensitive personal information. Once held by the National Archives, they are thereby subject to the provisions in the Freedom of Information Act and the Public Administration Act. In addition, private owners of archives may have entrusted their archives to the National Archives under various stipulations.

Private subjects may also deposit their archive collections in the National Archives. The archives are then still private property, and the provisions in the Freedom of Information Act and the Public Administration Act will not apply.