Liberty is at liberty, and there is no gulf in Gulf — to beginning electronic filing of civil cases in the trial courts, that is.
Those two counties are among the 51 that have completed the preliminary work to accept all civil case e-filings from lawyers through the court’s statewide Internet portal. The rest of the counties are working on accepting e-filings, and most can accept filings in at least some of the five civil divisions.
It’s no small matter for Bar members to keep track of the counties’ progress on this. By April 1, 2013, Bar members will be required to electronically file all court-related paperwork through the portal for civil cases. Filing for criminal cases will be required as of October 1, 2013.
For attorneys who want to keep track of who is ready to accept what, the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority, which oversees the portal, is maintaining a frequently updated list detailing where counties are in their transition from paper to electronic filing. So far the list includes only civil and appellate filings as most counties haven’t begun work on criminal filings.
The status of various counties on accepting e-filing can be found on the authority’s website: www.flclerks.com/eFiling_authority.html.
For the appellate courts, the Supreme Court (as of June) and the Second District Court of Appeal (as of July) are accepting electronic filings. The remainder of the appellate courts will be phasing in over the next several months. The Third DCA will be accepting filings by October, and the Fourth DCA will go electronic in January. The Fifth DCA is phasing in electronic filing with e-filing required by October 1 (see story on page 4). The First DCA, which has a pilot e-filing system it developed a few years ago, will begin filing through the portal in March 2013.
The site also says that the appellate courts will not be providing automation redaction of sensitive information from filed documents. That means attorneys will remain responsible for complying with Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420, which requires them to identify confidential information in court documents they file.
For filing in the trial courts, the portal includes the confidentiality form that attorneys must fill out and file along with a document detailing where the specific confidential information is to be found.
Rules implementing e-filing require that clerks continue to get duplicate paper filings for 90 days while their systems are being set up and tested. Once any problems are worked out, the clerks can petition the Supreme Court and the Florida Courts Technology Commission to end paper filings. A listing of those counties that have been able to discontinue the paper-follow-up in specific court areas is posted on the Florida Courts website at www.flcourts.org/gen_public/technology/e-filinginfostatus.shtml.
(This report was compiled by the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers — formerly the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers — and edited by the Bar News.)