Electronic Filing

Resource Guide

Electronic filing, or the migration of the court record from a paper to an electronic format, enables lawyers and other users to submit documents to multiple court systems that demand different formats through the use of Global Justice XML (GHXML). Electronic filing that includes digital signatures, privacy and public access, and document management are becoming more commonplace to reduce the court costs and make documents more available.

Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.


Featured Links

Court Technology Bulletin. This online version of the Court Technology Bulletin features cutting edge information about technology and the court community.  (Note: Digitized copies of the printed version of the  Bulletins from 1989 to 2003 are available in the Digital Archive.)
Court E-filing Survey 2011.

In the summer of 2009, the NCSC commenced a survey of the usage of e-filing in state courts across the country, including U.S. Territories.

Winters, Roger. Time for Electronic Court Records. (2005). Future Trends in State Courts.

With LegalXML-based electronic documents that point to and identify the meaning of their contents, applications will locate and reuse information freely. Automating rote manual functions is coming. Many still hold onto paper documents; we have concluded it is time to let go. The day of the electronic court record has come.

Winters, Roger. Controversy and Compromise on the Way to Electronic Filing. (2005). Future Trends in State Courts.

Electronic court records and electronic filing are more than technological challenges. They entail changes in practices and presumptions about documents, records, signatures, and many related things. Controversy over a state rule to authorize electronic filing in Washington showed how key nontechnical issues must be resolved.

Technology.

NCSC Area of Expertise.

Technology Tools.

NCSC Area of Expertise.

Court-specific standards.

Electronic Filing Processes and Electronic Court Filing (ECF) Standards.

Electronic Filing Vendors.

Electronic Filing Vendors from the NCSC Court Technology Vendor List.

General

James E. McMillan. Electronic Documents: Benefits and Potential Pitfalls. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010.

The cost-effectiveness and operational advantages of accepting and storing electronically filed documents can have an impressive impact on a court's bottom line.  While the court community is working diligently to take advantage of the many benefits of converting to electronic documents, there are still many issues to be resolved.

Schanker, David E-filing in State Appellate Courts. (February 2010). Clerk Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals on behalf of National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks (NCACC) This White Paper is based on a survey of electronic filing in state appellate courts conducted by the NCACC in the summer and fall of 2009, supplemented with information gathered from state judicial Web sites.
McKenna, Corey. St. Louis County MN Pilots Electronic Filing of Criminal Complaints . (June 2009). Digital Communities. The eCharging Service is expected to save a half hour per DWI arrest and 45 minutes per criminal complaint for a total statewide annual savings of 95,000 staff hours valued at $1.9 million.
Marek, Lynne Patchwork E-Filing Frustrates Lawyers. (February 2008). Legal Technology, Law.com Cook County is one of many U.S. counties, including San Diego in California and Kings in New York, that hasn't kept pace with 21st-century technological advances that have enabled electronic systems to come to some state courts, such as the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona and the district courts of Harris County in Texas
Delaware Courts Lead Nation in Use of Electronic Filing. (January 2008). Government Technology Magazine LexisNexis File & Serve, is the technology used by the Delaware Court of Chancery and the Delaware Superior Court to facilitate their e-filing needs.   
Kravets, David Internet Endangers Big City Tradition - The Bike Messenger. (August 2008). Wired In a world where documents travel by e-mail and the web, and electronic signatures are legally binding, the business of moving physical wood pulp from point A to point B is struggling.  
Carlson, Alan. Electronic Filing and Service: An Evolution of Practice. (November 2004). Justice Management Institute Recent advancements in technology have made it possible to exchange this information electronically instead of relying on paper. There are significant advantages to doing so, and courts should be actively pursuing this new approach.
Olson, Travis, Esq. et al. A Guide to Model Rules for Electronic Filing and Services. (August 2003). LexisNexis File & Serve The purpose of this white paper is twofold: (1) To provide a practical guide for judges, attorneys, court administrators, rules committee members, and legislators to develop rules of procedure for electronic filing and service projects and (2) To provide a basis for standardization of uniform electronic filing and service rules for state courts to adopt.
Sarvilinna, Sami. The Uses of Electronic Filing - A Finnish Perspective. (August 2001).

Scholarship winning paper from the Seventh National Court Technology Conference.

Executive Order D-17-00. (September 2000). Executive Department, State of California Order issued by the governor of California to ensure that state agencies and departments implement electronic technologies that will allow the people of California to receive government services and interact with state government.
Walker, Linda and James McMillan. JusticeLINK Pilot Project. (September 1997).

Evaluation and final report of project introducing electronic filing and access service in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland. JusticeLink was one of groundbreaking electronic filing endeavors.

Shelton, Hon. Donald All Aboard? Electronic Filing and the Digital Divide. Washtenaw County Trial Court, Ann Arbor, Michigan It is clear that the concept of electronic filing in our courts is taking off.  What is not clear is whether this new technology will really increase access to the judicial system or whether it will have the opposite effect.
Cost Benefit Analysis. Clark County District Court, Nevada A comparison of the cost of filing of a 15-page document via U.S. Mail, Federal Express, and legal runner service to the cost of filing the document online electronically from Wiznet E-File&Serve.  

Mandatory E Filing

D. C. Circuit Begins Mandatory Electronic Filing. (September 2009). The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes The court is requiring lawyers to file all documents electronically, a move that allows 24-hour access to those documents. The court has permitted voluntary electronic filing since June and provided training sessions.
Mandatory E-Filing and Exceptions. Connecticut Judicial Branch With some exceptions, e-filing of all civil types became mandatory as of December 5, 2009.  As of September 1, 2009, e-filing became mandatory in all foreclosure matters.  Mandatory civil e-filing does not include family cases.
Update on King County Superior Court on Mandatory E-Filing. King County Superior Court Clerk`s Office, Seattle, Washington Mandatory electronic filing for attorneys in King County Superior Court started July 1, 2009. Pro Se parties may choose to e-file but are not required to do so.

Training Manuals

Guide to Electronic Filing. (March 2008). Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, Ohio State of Ohio.   Manual for the electronic filing of documents in Hamilton County.
Civil E-Filing: A Guide to External Users. (April 2007). Judicial Branch: State of Connecticut Comprehensive manual for filing civil cases electronically.
Judiciary Electronic Filing Imaging System (JEFIS) Attorney Manual . (September 2007). Administrative Office of the Courts, State of New Jersey This manual provides guidance on the initial computer set-up for JEFIS use, as well as instructions on e-filing via JEFIS. (pdf)
Case File Xpress User`s Manual . (November 2005). Washington, D.C., Superior Court
"CaseFileXpress makes it easy to eFile and eServe court documents no matter where you are and no matter what time it is. The process is simple and we guide you every step of the way."
McMillian, James, J. Douglas Walker and Lawrence Webster. A Guidebook for Electronic Court Filing. (1999). NCSC.

322 pages. This historical guidebook was written primarily for policy makers in the court, government, and law firms who must decide if, when, and how to begin electronic filing. It is written for the lawyers, administrators, technologists, judges, and others charged with making it happen.

New York State Courts E-Filing (NYSCEF). New York State Unified Court System The New York State Unified Court System has established “NYSCEF,” a program that permits the filing of legal papers by electronic means with the County Clerk and the courts in certain case types in designated venues, as well as electronic service of papers in those cases.  The site offers a "Practice System" and a  "User Manual and FAQs." 
Video Webinars for Electronic Filing. Cook County Clerk of Courts Training Videos for attorneys and pro se litigants. 
Electronic Filing Guidelines. The Superior Court of Maricopa County This is a dynamic document and will periodically reflect changes and updates with the electronic filing process as they are approved and directed by the Court.  See also E-Filing Training Videos. 

Digital Signature

Digital Signature Guidelines. American Bar Association Free Download from the ABA.  The "Guidelines" describe a system for ensuring the identity of the holder of a private key, for making digital signatures as usable in commerce and in legal proceedings as a written signature on paper,
Uniform Electronic Transaction Act. (2013). 2013 Florida Statutes Act relating to Digital Signature and electronic transactions. 

E filing Standards

Electronic Court Filing Version 4.0. (September 2008). OASIS LegalXML Electronic Court Filing Technical Committee This specification describes the technical architecture and the functional features needed to accomplish a successful electronic court filing system, and defines both the normative (required) and non-normative (optional) business processes it supports.
7 Steps to Electronic Filing with ECF 4.0. OASIS LegalXML Court Filing Technical Committee A Quick Start Guide to assist with the minimum requirements to implement e-Filing with the OASIS Electronic Court Filing 4.0 Specification.
Electronic Filing Standards Project. (March 2001). California Administrative Office of the Courts California elected to join in a nationwide standards setting effort and adopted an approach of consultation and consensus among the parties who can make electronic filing happen.

Federal Courts

David Schanker. E-Filing in State Appellate Courts: An Appraisal. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010.

E-filing has become well established in federal courts, but state courts, particularly appellage courts, have lagged far behind in developing and implementing e-filing.  While the technology required for e-filing is relatively straightforward, the reasons for the states' slow progress toward e-filing are comlex and multifaceted.

Hon. Philip G. Espinosa. A Word from the Future: The Virtually Paperless Court of Appeals. (2009). Future Trends in State Courts 2009.

This article discusses how the future of court technology has arrived at Division Two of the Arizona Court of Appeals.  It is an integrated digital environment that approaches a true paperless court, resulting in greatly increased efficiency and significant cost savings benefiting all court personnel, the Arizona legal community, and ultimately the public.

John T. Matthias. E-Filing Expansion in State, Local, and Federal Courts 2007. (2007). Future Trends in State Courts 2007.

E-filing is on the rise in state, local, and federal courts.  Courts have a series of choices to make when planning e-filing: volumtary versus mandatory participation; alternative business approaches of e-filing; single e-filing service provider versus multiple providers; and packaged versus in-house solutions.

Graves, Scott E. Electronic Filing in the Federal Appellate Courts. (2006). Justice System Journal 27, no.3.

This article discusses the experience of the federal appellate courts' move toward electronic filing of documents via digital submission.

Case Management--Electronic Case Filing (CM-ECF). U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of New Mexico For attorneys and case trustees, electronic submission of documents is mandatory in this court. Currently, there are no provisions for persons filing bankruptcy cases without an attorney to file electronically.
Electronic Case Filing. U.S. Court for the District of Columbia The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts selected the U.S. Court for D.C. as one of the courts to pilot the Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system.
Policy and Procedures. Electronic Filing System in the Southern District of  New York Bankruptcy Court.  Users need a court-issued login and password to use the system.