Washington Case Law
The Washington state court system is divided into three levels. The highest court in Washington is the Washington Supreme Court, which consists of nine judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by the Washington Court of Appeals. It also reviews appeals of decisions by trial courts in limited situations. Decisions by the Washington Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.
The middle level of the Washington state court system is the Washington Court of Appeals, which consists of 22 judges. They are divided into three divisions, which are based in Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane. Unlike the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals must review each appeal that is filed with it. Decisions by the Court of Appeals are final unless the Supreme Court agrees to review a decision.
The lowest level of the Washington state court system consists of the Washington Superior Courts, the Washington District Courts, and the Washington Municipal Courts. The Superior Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. These courts also review appeals of decisions by District Courts and Municipal Courts. The jurisdiction of the District Courts is limited to certain types of cases. These include misdemeanors, infractions, and civil matters with less than $75,000 at issue. The Municipal Courts review cases that involve violations of city ordinances.