How Do I Access Public Records?
Public Records Disclosures, Court Document Requests, and Accommodations
Under Washington State Court General Rule (GR) 31, court records are records relating to court proceedings and are to be made available to the public, subject to exceptions. To learn how to request court records please visit “How to Request Court Records” below. Court records are not the same as public records as governed by the Public Records Act, Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 42.56.010.
The Public Records Act defines a public record as "any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.” Essentially, this means that the Clerk's Office must keep record of any document that relates to how the Clerk's Office conducts business and that any person can request those public records.
When making your public record request, the more information you provide to us regarding what type of record you are searching for, the more swiftly we will be able to provide a response. However, when requesting public records, asking for a broad spectrum of results such as “any” or “all” can take much longer to respond to. To learn how to make your request, please visit the “How to Submit a Public Disclosure Request” section below.
Accommodations can be made in some situations if you believe you need our help to access court records. Per GR 33, an accommodation request will be granted to any qualified person whom an accommodation is reasonable and necessary. To learn how to submit an accommodation request please visit “How to Request an Accommodation” below.
Most court documents are available on-line. To learn how to access court records, please visit our Court Records page. Having the case number related to the documents you seek will be the most valuable piece of information to aid you in your search.
The Clerk's Office can research the case numbers and provide the documents for you, should you need. However, there are fees associated with having the Clerk's Office research for you. Remember that you can view most court records for free by visiting any of the Clerks' Offices in person.
To submit a public disclosure request please fill out the Public Records Request form and follow the instructions on where to return your completed form. Please provide as much information and detail as possible.
The King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office is committed to responding to your request as quickly as possible. If you have further questions on how to make your request or to check on your request, please call us at (206) 477-0777.
Please note that public records are not the same as court records. If you are looking to acquire court records, please see the section below.
If you have a disability and believe you may need an accommodation to access court records, you may request an accommodation. Accommodation requests are granted to any qualified person with a disability for whom an accommodation is reasonable and necessary under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or under Washington State Court General Rule (GR) 33. A request will be granted unless it would:
- Be an undue financial or administrative burden;
- Fundamentally alter a court proceeding; or
- Threaten someone's safety or well-being.
You may be required to provide additional information for the court to properly evaluate your reasonable accommodation request. If medical or other health information is requested, it will be sealed. The submitter may also ask the court to seal the documents. Generally, five-day advance notice is required to review reasonable accommodation requests. However, a response to an immediate need for accommodation will be provided to the fullest extent possible.
To submit an Accommodation Request please fill out the Accommodation Request form and follow the instructions on where to return your completed form.