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Zimmerman's Research Guide


Washington State

Internet links to Washington government Web sites, bills, statutes, regulations, judicial opinions and other primary legal materials are posted by the Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington School of Law and FindLaw. Supreme and appellate court cases are published in West's Pacific Reporter. Primary legal materials are also available from Lexis, Westlaw and LOIS. Google Scholar has free case law back to 1950. For more case law resources, see the State Cases entry.

Bills: You can find bills, bills status and related information on bills from the current session back to 2005-2006 session through the Bill Information section of the Washington Legislature web site. For questions about pending bills, call the Bill Room at 800-562-6000 in state or 360-786-7573 from out of state.

Dockets / Case Information: State-wide case information from all Washington court is available through the Washington court system's free case information search. For more flexible searching use the fee-based JIS-Link, CourtLink of one of the other commercial services discussed in the Docket Sheets entry.

Some trial court have their own case search systems. You can look up most of these case searches through The Guide to Washington Court Records or Legal Dockets Online, or check the website for the relevant county court.

Briefs filed with the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are available from the Washington Courts website. You may be able to retrieve case file documents for trial courts through one of the county-specific online systems. Otherwise, you get case file documents from the relevant court clerk's office.

Document Retrieval: The Attorneys' Information Bureau (877-885-0815) does document retrieval from all Washington courts and law libraries. I believe they are the only source for documents from cases pending in the Washington Court of Appeals. (However, for closed Court of Appeals cases with published opinions, you can get copies of briefs from the Washington State library.)

Revised Code of Washington: Washington laws are codified in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). Annotated editions are available - and searchable - on Lexis (WASH;CODE) and Westlaw. Unannotated editions are searchable on LOIS and Fastcase.

Historical editions of the RCW are posted free by the Office of the Code Revisor in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Archive back to 2002. Fastcase has searchable unannotated historical editions of the RCW back to 2008. Annotated editions are available back to 1991 from Lexis (e.g., CODES;WA1991) and Westlaw (e.g., WA-STANN91).

Legislative History: See the separate entry for Washington State - Legislative History.

Land Records: Washington land records are kept by the relevant county. Recent filings are usually available online (e.g., King County Recorder's Office, Kitsap County Auditor). In addition, the Washington State Archives has added some land records to their Digital Archives.

More information about properties is available from the relevant county's online tax assessor database (e.g., King County, Kitsap County).

Questions, Copies, ILL: For questions about Washington legal materials, copies and/or inter-library loan, try calling the Washington State Law Library (360-357-2136), the University of Washington law library (206-543-4086) and/or the Seattle University Law Library (253-591-2970).

The Attorneys' Information Bureau (877-885-0815) will get copies of materials from Washington libraries.

UCC Filings: You can locate statewide UCC lien filings with the UCC File and Search Online posted by the Washington State Department of Licensing. UCC filings related to land, timber, etc. are available from the relevant county land records (discussed above).

See Also
Attorney General Opinions
Docket Sheets
Legal Ethics
State Bills and Bill Tracking
State Cases
State Constitutions
State Court Rules
State Government Agencies
State Laws, generally
State Legislative History
State Regulations and Administrative Codes
State Statutes and Codes

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman