What are working copies?

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When you “file” documents with a court, you give the court documents for processing. Often you also need to give a court “working copies” of the same documents. The judge or commissioner will use these extra copies to prepare for your case. That way the court does not need to make copies itself. #9952EN

Please Note:

  • Use this only if you are involved in a case in a Washington State court.
  • In Washington State, both judges and commissioners decide some types of cases. To make things simpler, we will just say “judge” here to refer to both.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Working copies are an extra copy of your court papers the judge uses to prepare for your case. The judge does not always have access to the entire court file when getting ready for your hearing. If you do not get working copies to the judge, the judge might not otherwise see your recent court filings.

When you file documents with a court, it means you are giving the court documents to make part of the written record (the court file) of the case you are involved in. Often you must also give a court “working copies” of the documents you are filing.

When you provide the judge working copies, then the court clerk does not need to make copies for the judge.

Yes. You may also hear them called working papers, courtesy copies, judge’s copies, or bench copies. (“The bench” means “judge.”)

Maybe. In some courts, you can file documents by email (called “electronically” or “e-filing”). You can also give a judge working copies electronically.

If you do not have a lawyer, it is usually cheaper and easier to file documents and submit working copies in paper form, not electronically.

You can ask the clerk of the court where you are filing your papers where to deliver your working copies.

Yes, depending on which court you are in.

Each Washington county has its own rules (called local rules). From the Court's website, click on the appropriate link under “Local Court Rules.”

There are links for superior, district, and municipal courts by county. If your county is not on this list, you should call or email them directly to ask about working copies.

You must follow all the rules for working copies.

Your court may have rules about:

  • Where to deliver working copies
  • Any deadline you must meet for delivering working copies
  • How many copies to make
  • How to label working copies

You can visit WashingtonLawHelp.org for more on many topics or the Administrative Office of the Court's website.

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Última revisión y actualización: Oct 14, 2022
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