What This Guide Covers

This guide discusses only appeals from the Superior Courts of the State of Washington to the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court. The Superior Courts are Washington’s courts of general jurisdiction, deciding all criminal matters involving felonies, all marriage dissolution/child custody issues, ownership of land and all civil matters not falling under the jurisdiction of one of the courts of limited jurisdiction (mainly the district courts). There is one Superior Court in each county, although there may be more than 50 judges on the Superior Court in a populous county like King. In smaller counties like Jefferson, there is only one Superior Court judge, and the smallest counties share a judge with an adjoining county.

There are other types of appeals not covered by this guide. Appeals from the District Court to the Superior Court are governed by the Rules of Appeal from courts of limited jurisdiction. Appeals from administrative agencies to the Superior Court are covered by the Administrative Procedures Act, RCW chapter 34.05. Appeals of land use decisions by local government agencies, cities and counties are governed by the Land Use Petition Act, RCW chapter 36.70C. Appeals from the United States District Courts to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals are governed by the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.