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Access to Administrative Public Records under General Rule 31.1  

Washington’s Judicial Branch is committed to openness, transparency, and the promise that the public should have reasonable access to administrative public records. In accordance with these ideals, the Supreme Court has established a rule regarding public access to administrative records.    

Effective January 1, 2016, General Rule 31.1: Access to Administrative Records: 

  • Confirms the right of the public to examine judicial branch administrative records created on or after January 1, 2016.

  • Establishes procedures for requesting records and guidelines for those responding to requests. 

Administrative Public Records 

An administrative public record is any writing or other recorded information related to the management of a court or judicial branch agency, its transaction of public business, or the performance of its administrative governmental functions. 

A judicial administrative record is a public record created by or maintained by a court or judicial agency that is related to the management, supervision, or administration of the court or judicial agency. 

The format of a judicial administrative record includes: 

  •  Written document
  •  Email Message
  •  Audio or video recording
  •  Voicemail message
  •  Picture
  •  Electronic disk
 
How to Make a Request

All Administrative Public Records requests must be in writing. For your convenience, we have created a Records Request Form You can fill out the form, save it and submit it by email to: recordrequests.kcdc@kingcounty.gov, send by mail or return to any King County Courthouse public counter.

In most cases, the Public Records Officer will send you a response within five business days of submitting your request. The response will acknowledge your request with a Request ID # and one or more of the following: 

  • Requested records provided. 

  • Anticipated date of arrival. 

  • Expected costs required to proceed. 

  • Further clarification required. 

  • Explanation for non-disclosable records. 

As part of your records request, King County District Court is unable to:

  • Answer questions involving general research or compiling of information. 

  • Perform legal research. 

  • Create a record if a record does not currently exist.

Exemptions to GR.31 

Before submitting your request, please review Exemptions (external link) to understand which records are specifically exempted under court rule, statute, or case law. 

Certain administrative records cannot be disclosed if prohibited under GR 31.1, or other court rules, federal statutes, state statutes, court orders, or case law. For records that are not entirely exempt, non-disclosable information will be redacted. If all or part of a judicial administrative record is non-disclosable, you will receive written notification explaining why. 

Costs and Fees 

In an attempt to defray costs associated with public records requests, King County District Court will charge for time required to locate, obtain, or prepare records for requests that require over one hour of direct staff time. Fees for scanning or copying records are in accordance with the Court’s current published fees miscellaneous fees. Please refer to the rate below.  

If your request is expected to incur costs, you will be notified in advance. Payment is required before your request will be completed. 

Photocopying

$0.50 per page

Scanning

$0.50 per page

Direct Staff Time

for Research and Preparation

$30.00 per hour after the first free hour. Billed in 1/10 hour increments.

Materials

(DVDs, USB drives, Mailers etc.)

At cost

Mailing

At cost

 

Appeal A Decision

If you disagree with the decision that the record you requested cannot be disclosed or has been redacted, you may choose to request a review of the decision. Requests for review must be submitted within 90 days of the public records officer's decision.

Internal Review 

To request an internal review, complete and submit the Request for Review Form within 90 days of the public records officer's decision. 

The record will be reviewed by the King County District Court Presiding Judge or designee.  In most cases, you will receive a response within five business days from the date the request for review was received or the earliest practical date that Judge or designee can review your appeal . 

External Review 

If you are not satisfied with the decision of the internal reviews, you may choose one of the following options for an external review: 

  • File a civil action in superior court to challenge the records decision. 

  • Request an informal review by a visiting judge, delegated by the Presiding Judge

This request must be submitted within 30 days of the response from the first review. 

For more information

See King County District Court’s Administrative Record Request Policy.

 

 

 

 

Links: 

General Rule 31.1 (external link)

Exemptions under GR31.1 (external link)

Administrative Public Records Policy

Request Court Records

 

Forms:

Records Request Form

Request for Review Form

Request for Court Records

 

Questions:

Contact the Public Records Officer for King County District Court

Email: recordrequests.kcdc@kingcounty.gov

Phone: 206-263-1852