FILMING IN CALIFORNIA STATE COURTHOUSES
The Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC) allows exterior filming around working courthouses during non-business hours only as long as the court seal, court staff, jurors, litigants and judicial officers are not photographed. Interior filming is not allowed at any LASC facility. Check with the contacts listed below for more information on locations, access and fees. Information on filming closed courthouse facilities follows as well.
NOTE: The California Film Commission does not issue film permits for the California Superior Court system. The state’s Judicial Branch is responsible for management of courthouses and other judicial facilities in California, and administers a program for the efficient licensing of civic and other uses of courthouses, including film, TV, commercial and digital production.
LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURTS – L.A. COUNTY
If you are interested in filming around the exterior of an L.A. Superior Courthouse during non-business hours, you may contact:
Henry Hernandez, Director
Los Angeles Superior Court
Facilities Services & Capital Projects
111 N. Hill Street, Room 623
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Currently exterior filming is considered at the closed Malibu and Whittier courthouses. In addition, the San Pedro Courthouse at 505 Centre Street is available for exterior and interior filming requests. Later in the year it will revert to a local jurisdiction and will not be available through the Judicial Council contact below. The closed Long Beach Courthouse is no longer available for interior filming as it is scheduled for demolition. To inquire about temporary exterior filming, contact the Long Beach Film Commission. No interior or exterior filming is permitted at the West Los Angeles Courthouse or plaza area.
APPLICATIONS – WORKING AND CLOSED COURTHOUSES – STATEWIDE
To obtain permission to film at specific courthouses statewide and information on where to submit your application, click here for Court Administrator contacts.
If consideration of the filming request is given by the local Court Administrator, the application is forwarded to the Judicial Council office in Burbank for review and transmittal to the San Francisco office for final approval.
Requests to license film, TV, commercial, or digital production at a courthouse or on courthouse property are made by application.
The completed application must include:
- Title and subject matter of the film project
- Description of scenes to be shot
- Proposed area(s) you wish to film, such as courthouse steps, plazas, and parking facilities
- Dates and times for each day of production, including prep and strike days
- Use of special equipment or props
- Miscellaneous facility services as needed
This application may be used for Superior Courts in all 58 counties throughout the state.
Applications must be submitted to the local Court Administrator no less than 30 business days prior to filming.
In addition, Proof of Insurance must be submitted before the application can be approved.
An initial estimate of fees will be provided during the application review process. These fees will be established on a per project, case-by-case basis.
Links to all Superior Court Websites in California: www.courts.ca.gov/find-my-court.htm.
Filming requests for Appellate Courtrooms located within state office buildings will not be considered. This includes the court facility in the downtown Los Angeles Ronald Reagan State Building.
For information on where to submit your application, click here.
To view various local county Superior Court facilities throughout California displayed in CinemaScout, the CFC online film location library, click here.
For further clarification on filming any courthouse exterior statewide, contact:
Senior Facilities Analyst
Real Estate and Facilities Management
Judicial Council of California
2255 N Ontario St Ste 220
Burbank, CA 91504
Historic Courthouses – County Superior Court Districts
Certain courthouses throughout California are designated historic. Selected locations include: Alameda, Alpine, Susanville / Lassen, Mariposa, Modoc, Mono, Quincy / Plumas, Riverside, San Rafael / Marin, Santa Barbara, Tuolumne / Sonora, Tehama, Trinity, and Woodland / Yolo. These court facilities are approved for filming and permitted by local county Superior Court staff, not the Judicial Council offices in Burbank and San Francisco including the above Administrative Division contact.
ADDITIONAL COURT FACILITY OPTIONS – LOCATIONS PERMITTED BY FILML.A., INC.
To inquire about filming at court locations in Los Angeles County permitted by FilmL.A., Inc., the Los Angeles Film Office, visit www.filmla.com and call to speak with a Production Planning team member at 213.977.8600.
Lynwood Superior Court – Closed Divisions 14, 15 an 16 – adjacent to the Century Regional Detention Facility – CRDF
San Pedro City Hall Municipal Building – Closed Jail and Courtrooms
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) – Mock Trial Courtrooms
LAUSD Property Management, FilmL.A., Inc.
213.977.8600 x 618
ADJACENT TO THE 30-MILE STUDIO ZONE – ORANGE COUNTY
Old Orange County Courthouse – Santa Ana – Historic Museum
CinemaScout also displays court facility matches and decommissioned courts now held by private sector entities. Start by typing the word “Courts” in the category field and search by proximity.