Northwest Intertribal Court System

Working for the good of tribes in the Northwest


     NICS administers the court of appeals of each tribe served by NICS according to that tribe's own codes, rules of procedure, and judicial eligibility criteria and appointments.

     Along with serving its own member tribes located in Western Washington, NICS has provided appellate court services on a fee-for-service basis to tribes located in eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, California, Utah and Southeast Alaska. 
     Tribes interested in receiving appellate services are encouraged to contact NICS for a consultation.

NICS Appellate Opinions

     The appellate panel issues a written opinion deciding the issues in each appeal administered by NICS. 

     Those opinions are published in a series of appellate reporters that have been converted to a fully Boolean-searchable online database that is available to NICS' tribes and the public free of charge.

     In addition to being supported by a powerful search engine that saves time and costs, NICS' appellate reporters are indexed by tribe and by subject matter, with hyperlinks from each index entry directly to the relevant case or text.

     NICS' online reporters are supported by mobile apps and can be accessed from any computer, tablet or smart phone.

Appellate Judges

     When NICS receives a new appeal from a tribe, NICS checks that tribe's judicial eligibility criteria and rules of appellate procedure and assembles a panel (typically three judges) with the necessary experience and expertise meeting the specific eligibility criteria and needs of that particular tribe.  NICS selects the appellate judges from a roster of approximately forty individuals whom NICS has determined to be qualified and eligible to serve as tribal appellate court judges.  Generally, the judges travel to the reservation from which the appeal arises to hear oral argument, although oral argument can also be heard telephonically when travel costs are a concern.
     NICS' appellate judges have outstanding credentials.  Over half of NICS' appellate judges are Native American.  Over ninety percent are law-trained, including graduates of law schools such as Columbia, Michigan, Cornell, NYU, Boalt Hall, Seattle University, and the University of Washington.  Several of NICS' appellate judges are full-time law professors, nearly a quarter have at least part-time law school teaching experience, and several more have taught law-related courses at the undergraduate level.  Over ninety percent are a member of at least one state bar association, and many are licensed to practice in multiple state and tribal courts.  Most of NICS' appellate judges have served as trial and/or appellate judges at multiple tribes, and several NICS judges have served as Chief Judge for at least one tribe.

Edmonds-Kingston Washington State Ferry.