Does the public records act apply to the judicial branch?

Access to judicial records is governed by court rules and not the Public Records Act (PRA).  There are two types of judicial records addressed by court rules: (1) “court (or case) records” (records filed with the court in a judicial proceeding that are usually maintained by the court clerk); and (2) “administrative records” (any record pertaining to the management, supervision or administration of the judicial branch). 

Access to court/case records is governed by the following court General Rules (GR): GR 31 (Access to Court Records) GR 15 (Destruction, Sealing and Redaction of Court Records), and GR 22 (Access to Family Law and Guardianship Court Records).

 Access to judicial administrative records is governed by GR 31.1.  The judicial branch is committed to openness, transparency, and the belief that the public should have access to most court records and administrative public records.  These FAQ’s address GR 31.1, access to judicial administrative records. For information regarding access to records contained in court case files (court or case records), please consult GR 31. You may request a court record by contacting the County Clerk’s Office at (360) 378-2163 or mailing a request to 350 Court Street #7, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.

Judicial Administrative Records Page

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1. Does the public records act apply to the judicial branch?
2. What is the purpose of General Rule (GR) 31.1?
3. What judicial administrative records are available to the public?
4. Why are some records not available to the public?
5. If a record is available to the public, why may portions of the record be blocked out (redacted)?
6. How long are administrative public records kept?
7. How do I request a record?
8. What is the process for responding to the request?
9. What if I disagree with a decision of the PRO?
10. Can I view public administrative records in-person?
11. How can I get paper copies of records?
12. What is the cost for obtaining or viewing administrative records?
13. What happens if I do not pay for the records I receive?
14. Does the public records officer keep track of requests administrative public records?
15. Is the court or judicial branch agency responsible for what happens when other people use information they received from an administrative public record?