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Local Law, Governments and Courts

Local governments and courts are provided for in the state constitution.  Article XI provides for county, city and town governments.  Article IV provides for local courts.

Counties pre-dated statehood.  Article XI of the state constitution governs the creation and modification of counties.  However, the legislature provides the governance structure and authority of counties by statute.  Title 36 RCW is the primary statutory authority for counties.

Cities and towns may be incorporated pursuant to Article XI of the state constitution. Their powers are also controlled by statute.  Title 35 RCW and Title 35A RCW are the primary statutory authority for cities and towns.

Special districts are creatures of statute and have the powers prescribed by the legislature.

The superior court is the trial court of general jurisdiction.  It is created in Article IV of the state constitution. Each county has a superior court.  The number of judges and other matters are prescribed by statute.  Title 2 RCW is the primary statutory authority relating to superior courts.  Procedural matters are governed by court rules adopted by the Supreme Court and by local court rule.

Two types of limited jurisdiction courts have been established pursuant to the state constitution as well.  District courts operate at the county level.  Muicipal courts operate at the city level. They are governed by Title 3 RCW and court rules.

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By: editor1
Last Updated: December 19, 2011 - 5:22pm

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