You are here

Home » Budget » State budgets » 2023-25 Gov. Inslee's proposed budgets » Agency recommendation summaries » Administrative Office of the Courts

Administrative Office of the Courts

  Average Annual FTEs Near General Fund State Other Funds Total Funds
  (Dollars in Thousands)
Current Budget 489.8 209,822 185,588 395,410
2023-25 Maintenance Level 501.7 191,660 172,965 364,625
Difference from 2023-25 Original 11.9 (18,162) (12,623) (30,785)
% Change from 2023-25 Original 2.4% (8.7%) (6.8%) (7.8%)

2023 Policy Other Changes

Fund Judicial Needs Estimation 1.0 538 0 538
Implement Data for Justice 4.5 1,574 0 1,574
Research Jury Race and Gender Bias 1.0 403 0 403
Examine Disability Bias 1.0 804 0 804
Barriers Appellate Access 0.30 109 0 109
Judicial Branch IT Infrastructure 0.0 23,570 0 23,570
Migrate to Office 365 4.0 2,700 0 2,700
Upgrade Business Intelligence Tool 0.0 950 0 950
Equipment Replacement 0.0 2,138 0 2,138
Develop Integration Platform 0.0 2,237 0 2,237
Implement eFiling for SC-CMS 0.0 3,200 0 3,200
Supreme Court Opinion Tracker 5.0 2,730 0 2,730
Court Interpreter Schedule 0.0 240 0 240
Automate Court Forms 1.0 846 0 846
Continue Data Quality Team Funding 6.0 2,180 0 2,180
Appellate Courts Technical Support 4.0 2,618 0 2,618
Modernize Cybersecurity Program 3.0 1,707 0 1,707
Continue Blake Implementation 10.0 3,254 0 3,254
Support Language Access Planning 2.0 589 0 589
Implement GAL Training Program 2.0 964 0 964
Pilot Pretrial Service Program 1.0 4,854 0 4,854
Engage Guardianship Volunteers 0.0 170 0 170
Public Guardianship Services 0.0 1,372 0 1,372
Fund Water Rights Adjudication 2.0 1,880 0 1,880
Security Matching Grant Program 1.0 5,000 0 5,000
Continue Therapeutic Court Funding 2.5 20,630 0 20,630
Family Treatment Court Team 5.0 2,112 0 2,112
Stabilize Best Interests Model 0.80 7,531 0 7,531
Expand & Evaluate Self-Help Centers 1.0 2,468 0 2,468
Judicial Education Capacity 0.0 628 0 628
Enhance Online Court Education 4.0 1,298 0 1,298
Launch FAIR Court Assessment 0.0 500 0 500
Translate Pattern Court Forms 0.0 150 0 150
2023 Policy Other Changes Total 62.1 101,944 0 101,944

2023 Policy Comp Changes

State Employee Benefits 0.0 196 0 196
Non-Rep Recruitment/Retention 0.0 479 0 479
Non-Rep General Wage Increase 0.0 5,024 0 5,024
PERS & TRS Plan 1 Benefit Increase 0.0 132 0 132
Vaccine Booster Incentive 0.0 327 0 327
2023 Policy Comp Changes Total 0.0 6,158 0 6,158

2023 Policy Central Services Changes

State Data Center 0.0 (21) 0 (21)
Archives/Records Management 0.0 4 0 4
Audit Services 0.0 1 0 1
Legal Services 0.0 26 0 26
CTS Central Services 0.0 (142) 0 (142)
DES Central Services 0.0 131 0 131
OFM Central Services 0.0 776 0 776
GOV Central Services 0.0 179 0 179
2023 Policy Central Services Changes Total 0.0 954 0 954
Total Policy Changes 62.1 109,056 0 109,056
2023-25 Policy Level 563.8 300,716 172,965 473,681
Difference from 2021-23 74.0 90,894 (12,623) 78,271
% Change from 2023-25 Original 15.1% 43.3% (6.8%) 19.8%

Policy Changes

Fund Judicial Needs Estimation

Carrying out the work of the trial courts requires the ability to accurately assess how many judges they need to manage current and future workloads. Funding is provided to implement an approach to better measure current and future judicial workloads. (General Fund - State)

Implement Data for Justice

The courts have been called upon to implement more equitable and effective justice in Washington. However, they often lack information that can show them where and how to improve in their delivery of justice. This item will fund a “Data for Justice” initiative to expand research at the Office of Court Innovation and the Washington State Center for Court Research (WSCCR) to collect and analyze data, report on performance measures, and train those working in our court system to use data to implement equitable change. (General Fund - State)

Research Jury Race and Gender Bias

Recent studies have shown that jury pools throughout Washington are not demographically reflective of their communities, and there has been a push in the Legislature and the courts to increase jury diversity. This item will enable the Administrative Office of the Courts to continue collecting juror data, expand research on jury selection, and provide technical assistance to the courts. (General Fund - State)

Examine Disability Bias

The Disability Task Force will conduct a comprehensive two-year study to determine the nature and extent of deficiencies in physical and programmatic access to court services and programs and to develop solutions to improve access. While the task force will recommend improvements to policies and procedures, the ultimate goal is to create a disability and justice commission. The commission will provide guidance to the Supreme Court and other Washington courts so that persons with disabilities have access to justice that not only meets legal compliance, but also ensures dignity, equity, and full participation in the legal system and the profession through implementing best practices and other reforms. (General Fund - State)

Barriers Appellate Access

Currently there are substantial expenses associated with filing an appeal, and no effective mechanism exists for waiving those expenses for low-income, unrepresented appellants. These and other barriers are compounded for individuals with limited English proficiency and those with disabilities requiring accommodation. Funding is provided to the Administrative Office of the Courts to research and seek input from court representatives and community members that will identify barriers to exercising the right to appellate review of trial court decisions. (General Fund - State)

Judicial Branch IT Infrastructure

The Judicial Information Systems Account (JIS), the primary fund source for judicial branch information technology (IT), has seen an almost 50 percent drop in its main revenue stream – traffic infractions – over the past two years. Prior to the recent pandemic, revenue had already been steadily falling. To decrease reliance on an uncertain and declining revenue stream and to fully support the IT infrastructure of the judicial branch,ongoing financial support will be provided from the General Fund to the JIS Account. (General Fund - State)

Migrate to Office 365

This item will allow the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to meet the Legislature’s intent to migrate state agencies to Microsoft Office 365. By incorporating cloud services, the AOC’s systems will increase availability, performance, flexibility, and capabilities while addressing future technology, staff and resource challenges. (General Fund - State)

Upgrade Business Intelligence Tool

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) requires critical upgrades to the business intelligence tool used for reporting purposes and the fulfillment of data requests. Funding is provided to ensure continued support for the existing enterprise reporting solution. (General Fund - State)

Equipment Replacement

To better facilitate the use of statewide judicial systems, such as Odyssey, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) assists trial courts and county clerks with the cost of replacing computer equipment necessary for the efficient operation of the judicial system. AOC, on behalf of these entities, will receive funding each biennium to replace judicial branch computer equipment at the end of its serviceable life. (General Fund - State)

Develop Integration Platform

Funding this item for the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) will go toward the development of a holistic enterprise integration system based on the Microsoft Azure Integration platform in accordance with the approved AOC Infrastructure & Security Strategic Roadmap. This system will enable a “plug & play” environment between existing and future AOC and local court systems. This solution will maximize system security and agility for meeting future integration needs and challenges while reducing operational and development costs over time. (General Fund - State)

Implement eFiling for SC-CMS

The Administrative Office of the Courts will use this funding to provide electronic filing in superior courts that chose to implement the Odyssey document management system as part of the Superior Court Case Management System (SC-CMS). Adoption of this new technology in these courts will lead to more consistent and barrier-free access to safe and efficient remote services for victims and other persons seeking justice in the courts. (General Fund - State)

Supreme Court Opinion Tracker

As the information technology support for the Supreme Court, the Administrative Office of the Courts will receive funding to develop or procure an automated and modern tecnology solution that supports the tracking, circulating, voting, and reporting of opinion matters from the time that writing assignments are made to the filing of the opinion. The current tool is antiquated and requires the Supreme Court to manually process and track its work, which causes delays and frustration from the Supreme Court, case participants, and justice partners. (General Fund - State)

Court Interpreter Schedule

Funding is provided to The Administrative Office of the Courts to gather requirements, conduct analysis, and develop options to develop or procure an efficient statewide interpreter scheduling application. All trial courts in Washington must provide interpreters for court customers to ensure equal access to justice, and the scheduling of court interpreters can be a barrier to providing that access. (General Fund - State)

Automate Court Forms

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) will receive funding to implement a remotely accessible, mobile-ready solution that allows unrepresented persons to create court documents. Individuals will be able to use a guided interview process and file documents electronically in courts using the state-provided case management systems or by traditional paper-based means. (General Fund - State)

Continue Data Quality Team Funding

This item will continue the Data Quality Program funded in the 2022 supplemental budget. The recent transition from a centralized Judicial Information System (JIS) to diverging case management systems implemented by certain courts has increased the volume of data anomalies and complexity of ensuring accurate and timely court data for statewide reporting, statistical analysis, and decision making. This will enable staff to improve data quality for the Washington State court system. (General Fund - State)

Appellate Courts Technical Support

This funding will enable the agency to better support the applications used the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. The current level of resources is insufficient to meet their growing technology needs. (General Fund - State)

Modernize Cybersecurity Program

The AOC must increase its capabilities to address cybersecurity threats and attacks which are becoming more pervasive and sophisticated. Funding is provided to modernize the agency's cybersecurity efforts by implementing two programs: (1) an information security program to implement new, industry-recognized processes such as contract security and security design reviews, threat detection, and vulnerability mitigation capabilities, and (2) a risk management program to allow AOC to correlate events across multiple systems. This includes automating incident responses, which are essential to mitigating the risks of cybersecurity threats as well as documenting risks and reducing silos. (General Fund - State)

Continue Blake Implementation

The Administrative Office of the Courts will use this funding to continue implementation efforts surrounding the State v. Blake Supreme Court decision issued in February 2021. The enacted 2022 supplemental budget provided funding to compile lists of all cases impacted by the decision since 1971 and to establish a centralized process for refunding legal financial obligations. This is a multi-year project, and ongoing funding is provided to complete the work. (General Fund - State)

Support Language Access Planning

Funding is provided to the Administrative Office of the Courts to fully implement meaningful language access throughout Washington State courts. By providing technical assistance, resource development, education, and coordination of peer learning, language access will be enhanced for all Washingtonians, including those with limited English proficiency and those who are deaf and hard of hearing. (General Fund - State)

Implement GAL Training Program

There is an urgent need for more, well-trained Title 26 guardians ad litem (GALs) in Washington. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is required to develop the Title 26 (domestic relations) GAL training curriculum under RCW 2.56.030(15). The AOC will use this funding to create and deliver a statewide training program. It will facilitate the mandatory training across the state several times each year, assist courts in developing local training rules, facilitate continuing education for existing GALs, and ensure the curriculum is updated every year. (General Fund - State)

Pilot Pretrial Service Program

An estimated 6,500 individuals are held in pretrial detention every day, including for non-violent or misdemeanor offenses. Many of these individuals could be released with a low risk to public safety and little likelihood to return to court if robust pretrial services were available. Full funding for pretrial services statewide has been recommended by the Pretrial Reform Task Force, and the Washington State Auditor’s Office also found that full funding for pretrial services would be less costly to taxpayers than pretrial detention. The Administrative Office of the Courts will receive funding to pilot a combination of evidence-based and promising programs in courts without pretrial services. (General Fund - State)

Engage Guardianship Volunteers

Funding is provided to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to support the Guardian Monitoring Program’s (GMP) ongoing volunteer activities. In 2021, AOC launched the GMP to support local jurisdictions’ guardianship efforts. GMP’s reliance on volunteers will require an investment of resources to recruit, train, support and retain approximately 100 volunteers to help ensure the sustainability for the GMP. (General Fund - State)

Public Guardianship Services

This funding will enable the Administrative Office of the Courts to respond to the high demand for public guardianship services. These services reduce costs over time while reinforcing legislative intent to protect the liberty and autonomy of all people in Washington, recognizing that some vulnerable adults cannot exercise their rights without the help of a guardian/conservator. The Office of Public Guardianship (OPG) contracts with 21 certified professional guardians and conservators or agencies to provide guardianship/conservatorship services to indigent individuals. OPG is approaching capacity and, without this additional funding, would have to stop accepting new clients. (General Fund - State)

Fund Water Rights Adjudication

Funding is provided to the Administrative Office of the Courts to support court activities related to adjudications filed by the Department of Ecology to resolve water rights in Water Resources Inventory Area 1 (Nooksack). A general adjudication of surface and groundwater rights will determine who has a legal right to use water and the volume of each right. (General Fund - State)

Security Matching Grant Program

The Administrative Office of the Courts will use this funding to distribute matching grants to small and rural courts for the purpose of securing their court facilities. This will allow these courts to purchase the basic security equipment and services they need to provide safe access to justice. (General Fund - State)

Continue Therapeutic Court Funding

The Administrative Office of the Courts will equitably distribute funding to cover costs in the more than 50 new and existing therapeutic courts in Washington state courts of limited jurisdiction (CLJs). Following the Supreme Court decision in State v. Blake, the Legislature reclassified drug possession in Washington from a felony to a misdemeanor, resulting in increased possession cases in CLJs. Therapeutic courts address the needs of individuals struggling with substance use disorder, mental health issues, and poverty. They have existed in CLJs for many years and consistently demonstrate positive impacts on participants’ lives. This item will address the increased interest from the Legislature, courts, and the public in providing ongoing funding to establish new programs and maintain existing programs. (General Fund - State)

Family Treatment Court Team

Half of the children in dependency court have a parent with a substance use disorder, and research shows that family treatment courts (FTCs) improve parents’ treatment results and increase family reunification. With a three-year federal grant, the agency created a statewide FTC Team to provide coordinated training, technical assistance and data support. The federal grant expires in 2023, and this state funding is provided to expand the statewide team approach to continue to improve outcomes and increase equity for families in dependency court. (General Fund - State)

Stabilize Best Interests Model

This item will stabilize funding for and improve the model of best interests advocacy efforts in dependency cases. This includes an inflationary adjustment for county-level CASA/child advocate programs to cover the increased costs of recruiting and managing volunteer guardians ad litem; the addition of a statewide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Officer to advise local programs; and a study by the Washington State Center for Court Research on the impacts of volunteer guardians ad litem on dependency cases. (General Fund - State)

Expand & Evaluate Self-Help Centers

The Administrative Office of the Courts will receive funding to extend two pilot self-help centers through the 2023-25 biennium and perform an evaluation on the success of the program. Washington has a significant and growing number of unrepresented litigants attempting to use the trial courts. These litigants often encounter challenges in using a court system that was designed for professional attorneys to navigate. Self-help centers are a common service offered by many other states to assist unrepresented litigants with legal information in civil matters. (General Fund - State)

Judicial Education Capacity

Funding is provided to The Administrative Office of the Courts to support the timely development of judicial training by education professionals and technology experts, and provide courts with bench coverage so that judicial training does not come at the expense of a court’s caseload. The criminal justice system is in the midst of major reform in many areas of law and court operations. Recent legal reforms include the Uniform Guardianship Act, Civil Protection Order Act, and Landlord-Tenant Relations. In addition, remote technologies adopted during the pandemic have created new ways for court users to access justice, prompting courts to reimagine how court services will be delivered post-pandemic. Judicial officers at all court levels are in urgent need of training to accurately and effectively apply these reforms. (General Fund - State)

Enhance Online Court Education

Funding this item from The Administrative Office of the Courts enhances the availability of timely and effective education and training for Washington’s court system personnel by growing the library of programs available in the new WACOURTS education portal. Justice requires judicial officers, clerks, court administrators, and court personnel to be educated on current case law and best practices in court operations. The most efficient means of providing consistent quality education and training for personnel across our diverse state is by expanding online programming through the WACOURTS education portal. This will expand the library from approximately 20 to about 100 programs in the portal, along with dozens of recordings and job aids. (General Fund - State)

Launch FAIR Court Assessment

The Administrative Office of the Courts will increase support to Washington’s courts of limited jurisdiction (CLJs), which serve diverse communities in a wide variety of subject matters. It is important to assess a CLJ’s ability to ensure all communities are treated with respect and dignity; racial disparities are addressed; and low-income individuals have the tools they need to navigate the justice system. A proven way to achieve this objective is through the FAIR Court Project in partnership with the Center for Court Innovation. This item will fund observations of 12-15 CLJs, with detailed recommendations for each court to address any barriers to procedural justice found during the observations. (General Fund - State)

Translate Pattern Court Forms

Funding is provided to the Administrative Office of the Courts to translate pattern court forms which are heavily relied upon by unrepresented litigants to navigate the court system. Court forms help people request filing fee waivers, file family law cases, obtain protection orders, and set up guardianships or conservatorships. There are currently about 725 forms; current funding is sufficient to translate only about 9% of them into other languages, and there is no funding to update the current translations. (General Fund - State)

State Employee Benefits

Health insurance funding is provided for state employees who are not represented by a union, who are covered by a bargaining agreement that is not subject to financial feasibility determination, or who are not part of the coalition of unions for health benefits. The insurance funding rate is $1,160 per employee per month for fiscal year 2024 and $1,233 per employee per month for fiscal year 2025. (General Fund - State)

Non-Rep Recruitment/Retention

Funding is provided for recognition and retention lump sum payments for employees employed on or before July 1, 2022 and continuously employed through July 1, 2023. (General Fund - State)

Non-Rep General Wage Increase

Funding is provided for wage increases for state employees who are not represented by a union or who are covered by a bargaining agreement that is not subject to financial feasibility determination. It is sufficient for a general wage increase of 4 percent, effective July 1, 2023 and a general wage increase of 3 percent, effective July 1, 2024. This item includes both general government and higher education workers. (General Fund - State)

PERS & TRS Plan 1 Benefit Increase

For eligible Public Employees' and Teachers' Retirement Systems Plan 1 members, this item provides an increase of 3%, up to a maximum of $110 per month. (General Fund - State)

Vaccine Booster Incentive

Funding is provided for a $1,000 lump sum COVID-19 booster incentive for non-represented employees. This funding does not cover institutions of higher education. (General Fund - State)

State Data Center

Adjustments are made for each agency's share of costs related to the State Data Center. (General Fund - State)

Archives/Records Management

Adjustments are made for each agency's anticipated share of charges for archives and records management services provided by the Secretary of State's Office. (General Fund - State)

Audit Services

Adjustments are made for each agency's anticipated cost of audits performed by the State Auditor's Office. (General Fund - State)

Legal Services

Adjustments are made for each agency's anticipated cost of legal services provided by the Attorney General's Office. Because legal services expenditures are based on consumption, funding provided in the central service model is not all inclusive. The methodology to estimate consumption has been updated from a three-year average to a two-year average and allows for analysis to incorporate unique agency circumstances. (General Fund - State)

CTS Central Services

Adjustments are made to reflect each agency's anticipated share of charges from Consolidated Technology Services (CTS) for the Office of the Chief Information Officer, Office of Cybersecurity, state network, enterprise services, small agency IT services, security gateways, and geospatial imaging services. This amount now includes the total amount for agencies that use the Microsoft 365 shared tenant. See Chapter 11 of the 2023-25 OFM Budget Instructions for allocation methodologies. (General Fund - State)

DES Central Services

Adjustments are made to reflect each agency's anticipated share of charges from the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) for campus rent, parking, contracts, and security; capital project surcharges; financing cost recovery; public and historic facilities; real estate services; risk management services; personnel service rates; the Perry Street and Capitol Campus child care centers; small agency services; and the department's enterprise applications. See Chapter 11 of the 2023-25 OFM Budget Instructions for allocation methodologies. (General Fund - State)

OFM Central Services

Adjustments are made to reflect each agency's anticipated share of charges for existing statewide applications, the One Washington program, and other central services provided by the Office of Financial Management. See Chapter 11 of the 2023-25 OFM Budget Instructions for allocation methodologies. (General Fund - State)

GOV Central Services

A new central service is created to reflect each agency's anticipated share of charges from the Office of the Governor for statewide policy staff and the Office of Equity. (General Fund - State)