Vintage Wine Research on a Box Wine Budget #2

by Jason Giesler, Law Library Intern

If you are looking for Washington legal information, you can attempt to avoid the need for expensive subscription databases by examining the Washington Courts web page. The site contains a plethora of useful information for those practicing in our the state.

There are a number of useful primary legal resources available through the courts homepage. First, the site contains court rules for every court in Washington State. Court rules can be accessed via a search engine on the initial page, or through a topical index. Another great primary source is the pattern jury instructions.  The jury instructions are divided between Civil and Criminal subjects and are presently being made available through a partnership with Westlaw. Finally, if you have lost your advance sheets, there is also a page that contains links to recent Appellate and Supreme Court Opinions.

Those who need legal forms have hit the jackpot! The page contains both a search engine and an index of forms grouped by legal topic. Additionally, if you cannot find what you are looking for, there is a page that contains a list of all of the forms available on the site. The site contains a number of commonly used forms in specialized topic areas ranging from criminal law to guardianships.

If you do not have access to JIS or SCOMIS, you can look up your case information through the search case records page. The easiest way to look up cases is to search by party name. You can also search by case number at the Municipal and District Court, Superior Court, or Appellate Court levels. The search covers all counties in Washington. However, results are limited by the date of the case, and this varies from county to county. Full docket information is included for more recent cases at the Superior and Appellate Court levels.

Overall, the Washington Courts website can be used to meet many of your legal research needs. The Courts homepage can save a great deal of money because one would have to subscribe to several fee-based services in order to access similar information.

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