Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
Washington Supreme Court Adopts Changes to Court Record RulesMarch 09, 2006
In an order filed today, the Washington Supreme Court unanimously approved revisions to court rules relating to the destruction and sealing of court records (GR 15), and access to family court records (GR 22). The new rules will take effect July 1.
The amendments were proposed by the Judicial Information System Committee (JISC) which formed a workgroup in 2003 to revise the rules to provide greater guidance to trial courts and attorneys. The new rules also provide consistency with GR 31,
Chief Justice Gerry Alexander praised the JIS Committee for their on their work on this issue. “The JIS Committee has taken great strides to develop rules that provide the citizens of
Amendments to GR 15 establish clear guidelines for judges to follow when sealing court records, including a requirement for judges to identify in writing the “compelling privacy or safety concern that outweighs the public interest”. The rule also advises that parties’ wishes for secrecy does not by itself justify sealing records and that preference should be made to redact (or black out) specific information from a court record, rather than sealing an entire document.
GR 22 amendments include the addition of guardianship cases under Title 11 (Probate and Trust), Chapter 73.36 RCW (Veterans) and Chapter 74.34 (Vulnerable Adults) to the types of family law cases covered within the rule.
Both rules were published for public comment from June until September of 2005 and approved by the Supreme Court Rules Committee earlier this week. Copies of the revised rules are available online at http://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.adopted.
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