Administrative and Land Use Appeals Jump to Appellate Courts

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On May 12, 2021, Governor Inslee signed SB 5225, streamlining the process for taking administrative and land use appeals directly to the Washington Court of Appeals. This change in the law, which goes into effect June 13, 2021, will improve landowner, developer, applicant, and opponent access to a swift, efficient appellate review. This should make the appellate process faster, less expensive, and more streamlined for everyone.

This change in the law applies to appeals of:

  • Government decisions on licensing applications and decisions entered after an administrative hearing under the “Administrative Procedure Act (APA),” RCW Chapter 34.05; and
  • Local government permitting decisions or other approvals required for real property improvements, developments, rezones, etc., under the “Land Use Petition Act (LUPA),” RCW Chapter 36.70C.

Parties to these cases can ask the superior courts to transfer the case to the Washington Court of Appeals immediately. Superior courts are typically courts of first impression, dealing with civil matters; family law and domestic disputes; felony criminal matters; and juvenile law. Click here to learn more about the Washington court system structure. Superior courts can hear appeals of various lower court or administrative decisions, but this is not their primary focus.

As a result of the pandemic, trials have been delayed and Washington superior court dockets are significantly overcrowded. Allowing administrative and land use appeals to leapfrog superior courts and move directly to the Court of Appeals will relieve some of that strain – improving #accesstojustice for everyone.

Contact HLG to learn how your administrative or land use appeal can move along faster.

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