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October 1, 2012
What’s the best way to revise rules?

Is it time to find another way to deal with procedural rule amendments other than formally petitioning the Supreme Court with fixed deadlines for answers and responses and having an adversarial oral argument?

Justice Barbara Pariente raised that possibility — which has been mentioned in other proceedings — September 6 during oral arguments on proposed amendments to Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420, which covers protecting confidential information in court filings.

Pariente noted the court system is in the midst of a massive change from paper files to an electronic court system, which involves rule changes to accommodate electronic filing and electronic service of documents, as well as making sure that sensitive information in electronic files doesn’t wind up in court files that can be accessed by computer through the Internet from anywhere in the world.

“Is there any other way you can envision dealing with this continuing issue?” Pariente asked immediate past Rule of Judicial Administration Committee Chair Keith Park, noting the frequent rule revisions necessitated by the transition to the electronic world.

“I just can’t imagine that every six months for the next five years having this done this way, as opposed to something that is a bit more informal for these rules.”

The justice had a willing listener in Park.

“From this side of the podium, yes ma’am, that’s what we need to do,” he said. “Especially when e-filing cranks up [in the next several months], we’re going to have a lot more information.”

Park noted that the court in June approved changes to Rule 2.516, which mandate electronic service of documents between parties, with an effective date of September 1. The committee is already using information generated by that switch to work on further rule amendments, even beyond those addressed by the court in a follow-up order on August 30.

“It’s a little difficult to go through the petition process,” he said.

[Revised: 11-15-2013]