In my continuing “war” against rubber file stamps I have been working on a concept (shown below) receipt that would be generated by the CCMS when the court receives a filing.
But first, you might ask why do courts need a receipt function? Several reasons. In order for a CCMS to be able to fulfill its function it is necessary for data to be entered by staff. In some instances court staff do not enter the data in a timely manner, if at all (in instances of corruption). This manipulates the CCMS by avoiding the programmed system rules and workflow. While this reason is important, it is also just as important to enable persons a quick way to retrieve and validate court documents. I will explain the major “features” of the receipt concept as shown below. Thus after E-filing or walk-in paper filing, both actions should generate a CCMS receipt acknowledging the transaction has occurred. And I think that every court should have a sign similar to the one shown in the picture above that without a receipt, your filing has not been recognized by the court.
Section 1: This is the section of the document that verifies the information that is entered into the CCMS. In E-filing this data may be entered by the parties. And in paper systems it would be entered by court staff. The major feature of this section shows how standardized document/form numbers could be used to assist in validation if for example a criminal form was inadvertently entered into a civil case matter.
Section 2: This section provides both the document reference number assigned by the CCMS or document management system. As noted, this number is randomly assigned and used only once in the system as a unique identifier. And as the US Federal Courts have done since 1996, a Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA-Hash) number is generated from the E-filed or scanned document and is used to validate the stored electronic file.
Section 3: The signature area. Both the traditional handwritten signature (legendary USA baseball player, Mickey Mantle’s signature is shown as an example) along with my electronic signature counter-sign section. This provides, along with the watermark, visual authentication for the document as well as possible electronic authentication for the electronic version.
Section 4: The QR code. This code can contain the case number as shown in the example but could also include the document number as well. This would allow courts and others to create smart phone apps that would read the QR code and retrieve a verification or the document itself (I would test for the size before download).
Section 5: Not shown. Thumbnail and Payment. Finally, it would be possible to include a first page “thumbnail” of the document submitted as one more visual verification as well as a payment receipt for the fees.
Please let me know what you think about this idea? And if anyone has done something similar I know we all would like to hear about it via the comments below.