Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
Washington Supreme Court Adopts Rule Governing Public Access to Court RecordsOctober 07, 2004
(OLYMPIA-OCTOBER 7, 2004) In an order filed Thursday morning, the Washington Supreme Court approved a new comprehensive rule governing access to hard copy and electronic court records statewide. General Rule 31 will be effective
The rule was proposed by the Judicial Information System (JIS) Committee, which worked for several years to develop a comprehensive rule to define public access to court records in the electronic age.
“The adoption of this rule provides the citizens of
The rule applies to all court records, regardless of the physical form, the method of recording, or the method of storage of the court record. Court records are further governed by GR 22, already in effect relating to access to family court records. GR 22 requires attorneys to redact personal identifier information such as financial records. GR 15 provides mechanisms for sealing of individual files where provided by statute or where there are compelling circumstances.
Chief Justice Gerry Alexander praised the JIS Committee on the extensive public input sought by the committee on the proposed rule, and in their accomplishment in providing a rule that will provide consistent access to courts for citizens throughout the state.
“This rule will provide a consistent set of rules for judges, county clerks and court administrators in all 39 counties of Washington State and will serve to provide consistent public access to court records,” said Chief Justice Gerry Alexander. “The Supreme Court received hundreds of letters from interested citizens on this issue and I commend the hard work of the JIS Committee.”
The first public hearing on the issue was held in 1999 and a comment period on GR 31 was held from August 5 -
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