Filming in California
FILMING IN CALIFORNIA STATE COURTHOUSES
The California Film Commission does not issue film permits for the California 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 licensing of civic and other uses of courthouses, including film, TV, commercial and digital production.
This guide will assist filmmakers seeking information on how to approach the Judicial Council of California via a local Court Administrator when inquiring about the use of Superior Courts in all 58 counties throughout the state. Special expedited provisions and contacts for filming in Los Angeles Superior Courts is also explained.
Application: Requests to (film) in an open or closed 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 areas to shoot interior and exterior scenes, such as, courtrooms, lobby, courthouse steps, etc.
Dates and times for each day of production
Use of Special equipment or props
Facilities services required, e.g., minimum electrical requirements, additional air conditioning, etc.
Applications must be submitted to the local court administrator no less than thirty (30) business days prior to filming.*
In addition, Proof of Insurance must be submitted before the application can be approved.
*Please note that although the application indicates processing time can take up to 30 days, the CFC has been told by local Judicial Council staff that when submitting a permit application for one of the (working) Los Angeles Superior Courts (LASC), staff will now make every effort to process applications in no more than 10 business days.
An initial estimate of fees will be provided during the application review process. These fees may vary on a case-by-case basis.
Links to all Appellate and Superior Court Websites in California: www.courts.ca.gov/find-my-court.htm
For information on where to submit your application, click here.
Use of courtrooms and other areas within courthouse facilities are subject to availability.
To view various local county Superior Court facilities throughout California displayed in CinemaScout, the CFC online film location library, click here.
LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT (LASC) LOCATIONS
Please note that only the exteriors of L.A. Superior Courthouses may be filmed, and only during non-business hours.
For film, TV, commercial or digital production at a Los Angeles County courthouse involving exterior shooting only, submit application to:
Facilities Services Assistant
Facilities Services & Capital Projects
Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC)
213.974.6264 / 213.893.7726
Filming is not permitted at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center located at 210 West Temple Avenue, in downtown Los Angeles, except for weekend exterior film requests when a camera position is necessary.
For active Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC) facilities displayed in CinemaScout, click here.
CLOSED COURTHOUSES - LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT (LASC)
Filming is now allowed at several closed courthouses.
To view photos of the Long Beach, Whittier and West Los Angeles Superior Courthouses and courtrooms displayed in CinemaScout, click here.
For information on closed LASC courthouses contact:
Theresa Dunn, Senior Estate Analyst
Office of Real Estate and Facilities Management
Judicial and Court Admin Services Division
Judicial Council of California - Administrative Offices of the Courts
818.558.1245 Phone / 818.558.3114 Fax
Depending on the closed courthouse requested, the production crew may be responsible for removing and storing file boxes and documentation left behind that the court has not yet been able to remove.
OTHER COURT FACILITY OPTIONS PERMITTED BY FILML.A.
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 adn 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
CinemaScout also displays court facility matches and decommissioned courts now held by private sector entities. Start typing the word "courts" in the category field and search by proximity.
Thank you for your interest in shooting on location at a California courthouse.