Tuesday, April 21, 2015

File Hosting Services and E-Filing

Clouds over Arusha, Tanzania

Many do not know that the LegalXML Electronic Court Filing (ECF) standard allows for “links” to be submitted.  We discuss below:


With larger and larger files being created for video and audio evidence, and large document sets with photos and graphics swelling e-filings, the normal submission/file upload approach may not meet the court’s needs.  Further, civil parties with large “e-discovery” databases may wish to make evidentiary links to data in those systems.

So the current LegalXML ECF 4.01 standard can help as it is the normal way of submitting documents in many courts. Specifically the standard states in section C.4, the Legal Service MDE description:
"The Legal Service MDE enables a filer or a court to electronically transmit copies of, or (emphasis added) links  to, electronically filed documents to other parties who are participating in the case and who are entitled to be promptly served with the electronically filed documents.”
We have heard of a few courts using file hosting/sharing systems such as Dropbox, Box, Hightail or other similar SaaS applications to deal with these large files.  Often this is done on a case by case basis

Of course, there are concerns about using these services for legal documents.  This is where e-signature software can help because it creates the ability to verify the file contents.  Further, there are a few SaaS services that allow for hosting with encryption and creates a one-time password protected download link.  But with that approach one has to give the court the password by another route.  Fax anyone?

So the bottom line is that it is possible to E-file video and other large files using the LegalXML ECF standard.

And please share any other approaches that you have used to overcome this problem (excluding USB drives/ DVD’s... seriously, not E-filing…but others?).

1 comment:

  1. Great topic! Seems like policy issues are bigger hurdles than the technical solutions.