Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Federal Courts E-Government Act Compliance

In an article in the US Federal Court's newsletter, "The Third Branch", they reported that the judiciaries compliance with the "E-Government Act of 2002" was nearly total. The article explains that the US Congress passed the E-Government Act in order to improve customer service to citizens via the Internet. The article further notes that nearly 200 Federal Courts have their own websites, and that many are not only in compliance but exceed the type and amount of information required.

Electronic Case Filing Program Kicks Off At Orange County Clerk's Office

Thanks to Leesa Bainbridge of the Orange County, Florida Clerk of Circuit Court office for the following article.
Orange County Clerk of Courts Lydia Gardner is pleased to announce that Ed Foster of Akerman, Senterfitt and Edison became the first attorney to electronically file a case under our new Electronic Case Filing system.
The Complex Business Litigation case was filed April 5, 2006, in the Civil Division under the direction of Program Manager Carolyn Weber.
"We are thrilled to get our first case just 14 months after we began laying the groundwork for the project", Gardner said. "E-commerce is the future and we plan to stay on the cutting edge of that universe."
Gardner also praised the leadership of Weber, whose experience developing an Electronic Case Filing system in the federal courts was invaluable as she began creating the program for the Orange County Clerk of Courts.
Electronic Case Filing - or ECF - is one of the most significant innovations ever implemented at the Clerk's Office. The E-filing plan was approved by the Supreme Court for Complex Business Litigation in February 2005. As required by the Supreme Court, our operation begins with a pilot program involving a limited number of law firms. In time, that program will expand significantly.
The Orange County Clerk of Courts is the first among large counties to begin rolling out an ECF program.
ECF allows attorneys to electronically file new cases and subsequent pleadings 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere they have Internet access. It allows for 24-hour access to those files, which are secured by a password. It means faster document retrieval, savings on courier and postage fees, fewer visits to the Clerk's Office and reduced use of paper. Attorneys are alerted to any case activity through automatic emails.
There are 50 attorneys registered in ECF with 157 documents electronically filed. We have two pro se tenant eviction cases as part of our pilot phase. The advantages to attorneys, clients and Orange County will only expand as the program grows.