Records Request Instructions

Access to Judicial Administrative Records General Rule (GR 31.1):
Effective January 1, 2016

Consistent with the principles of open administration of justice, as provided in article I, section 10 of the Washington State Constitution, it is the policy of the judiciary to facilitate access to its administrative records. A presumption of access applies to the judiciary’s administrative records. Access, however, is not absolute and shall be consistent with exemptions for personal privacy, restrictions in statutes, restrictions in court rules, and as required for the integrity of judicial decision-making.

A judicial administrative 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. Judicial administrative records are not subject to the provisions of the State Public Records Act (Chapter 42.56, RCW). In June 2015 the Supreme Court of the State of Washington adopted General Rule 31.1 – Access to Administrative Records (GR 31.1) which takes effect January 1, 2016.

The procedure for obtaining administrative records of San Juan County Superior Court is set forth below.

The procedure for obtaining administrative records of the San Juan County District Court are explained on its website at: (SJC District Court).

The court records of the San Juan County Superior Court, such as case files, dockets and calendars, are not subject to GR 31.1. They can be requested by directly contacting the County Clerk at telephone: (360) 378-2163 or address: 350 Court Street #7, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, or by filing a public records request with the San Juan County Public Records Officer.

1. How Do I Submit a Request for Administrative Records?

All requests for judicial administrative records must be in writing, using the Request for Administrative Records form. You may email this Form or print it out, fill it in, and either deliver in person or send it to:

Superior Court Public
Records Officer (PRO):
Jane Severin,
Superior Court Administrator
Mailing address: San Juan County Superior Court
350 Court Street #7
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
Location address: San Juan County Courthouse
2nd Floor, Superior Court Offices
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
Telephone:
Fax:
Email:
(360) 370-7480
(360) 370-7485
supctpro@sanjuanco.com

2. What Should I Include in My Request?

Be as specific as possible as to name, location, date and type of record requested. Please use additional sheets as necessary.

As part of your records requests, the Superior Court PRO is unable to:

  • Answer general requests for information.
  • Answer questions involving general research or compiling of information.
  • Perform legal research.
  • Create a record if a record does not currently exist.

Some administrative records cannot be provided. Before submitting your request, please review Exemptions to understand which records are specifically exempted under court rule, statute or case law.

3. How Much Will They Cost?

If your request will require payment of costs you will be notified. Payment may be required before your request will be completed. Costs will be charged as follows:

Viewing records at Courthouse: No Charge
Copies & Scanning: $0.15 per page
CD: $20.00 each; USB: $25.00 each
Research Fee: $30.00/hour after first hour
Fax (8 ½ x 11 only): $1.00 per page
Postage: actual cost; Envelope: $1.00 each

4. How Will the Court Respond?

The Superior Court PRO is required to send you a response within five business days of submitting your request. The response will acknowledge your request with 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.

The Superior Court PRO may notify the agency or person to whom the record pertains that release of the record has been requested. That agency or person may ask a court to prevent an inspection of the record. If a court order preventing disclosure is sought, the records request will be held until the court determines the matter.

5. What If My Request is Denied?

Internal Review: If your administrative records request is denied, you may ask the Superior Court Judge to conduct an internal review of the denial. Your internal review request must be within 90 days from the denial by the Superior Court PRO.

External Review: If the internal review process upholds the denial, you can request an external review. Request for an external review must be submitted within 30 days of the internal review decision. You may choose between two external review alternatives:
  • File a civil action in superior court challenging the administrative records decision; or
  • Request external review of the decision by a visiting judge.

6. Where Can I Find More Information?

For more information about GR 31.1 or about the process for obtaining judicial administrative records in general you may find the links listed below to be helpful.