Washington Law Review


Geoffrey Crooks


The Washington Rules of Appellate Procedure (RAP) became effective July 1, 1976. These rules completely replaced all prior rules governing appellate procedure. Among the most important changes from prior practice was the creation of discretionary review as one of only two methods for seeking review of trial court decisions. The former procedures for seeking review, particularly interlocutory review, "by extraordinary writs of review, certiorari, mandamus, prohibition, and other writs formerly considered necessary and proper to the complete exercise of appellate and revisory jurisdiction," were superseded. The drafters' comment explains that the intent behind this change was to simplify and clarify this part of appellate practice. As the comment notes, "[r]eview by way of extraordinary writ under the former rules has been the most confusing of all the appellate procedures, and precedent for almost any arguable position can be found." This article has two purposes. The first is utilitarian—to provide a brief outline of the mechanics of discretionary review of trial court decisions. The second is somewhat more ambitious—to survey ten years' experience under the "new" rules and to reflect on how discretionary review actually works.

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