Northwest Intertribal Court System

Working for the good of tribes in the Northwest


When administering the court of appeals for a tribe, NICS respects and provides services in a manner consistent with that particular tribe's codes, rules of procedure, and judicial eligibility criteria and appointments. Along with serving its own member tribes located in Western Washington, NICS has and continues to provide appellate court services on a fee-for-service basis to tribes located throughout the United States, including eastern Washington, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Southeast Alaska. Tribes interested in receiving appellate services are encouraged to contact NICS for a free consultation.


NICS Appellate Opinions

     Appellate panels write their opinions deciding on the issues presented in the appeals that are 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 all free of charge. Providing a comprehensive database of easily accessible tribal case law promotes fair and consistent application of the law. The NICS' online reporters are supported by mobile apps and can be accessed from any computer, tablet or smart phone. 

Appellate Judges

     NICS contracts with approximately forty individuals whom NICS has determined to be qualified and eligible to serve as tribal appellate court judges. Selection of the judges for an appellate panel adhere to a tribe’s judicial eligibility criteria and appointments.

     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, 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 have served as a chief judge for at least one tribe.

Edmonds-Kingston Washington State Ferry.