Wednesday, June 8, 2011

NY's top administrative judge calls for legislation mandating e-filing

Last week I noted the huge amount of legislative interest and activity on e-filing. At almost the same time, NY's Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau was delivering her report urging legislation be adopted to mandate the use of e-filing in the state's courts. The report, eFiling in the New York State Courts: Report of the Chief Administrative Judge to the Governor, the Chief Judge, and the State Legislature, was created in fulfillment of a legislative request for information on the state's existing system and its status. The report includes the following ringing endorsement of e-filing.

Over [the last] twelve years, e-filing has shown itself to be reliable, efficient, convenient, and secure. It allows court papers to be filed and served, virtually instantaneously, at any time and from anywhere, without the need to go to the courthouse. It allows online access to case files by counsel anywhere at any time. It also sharply reduces record storage, retrieval and reproduction costs, completely eliminates the burden and expense of serving papers on opposing parties, and minimizes the need to travel to the courthouse. The result is significant cost savings for litigants, attorneys, the courts, and County Clerks. Indeed, it is estimated that universal mandatory e-filing would reduce the cost of litigation by hundreds of millions of dollars a year, with much of this savings inuring to the businesses and the state and local governments that so often litigate in our courts. With the potential to eliminate the filing and service of hundreds of millions of pieces of paper each year, e-filing is also the key to a greener, more environmentally responsible justice system.