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For immediate release: Oct. 7, 2009
For further information contact:
Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig

Judiciary Seeks Comment on Electronic Filing Report

The Supreme Court is seeking comments on the report of its Special Committee on Electronic Filing. Comments on the committee’s report will be accepted until Nov. 16.  The report is available on the Judiciary Web site at judiciary.state.nj.us.

Chaired by John J. Degnan, vice chairman and chief operating officer of the Chubb Corporation and former New Jersey attorney general, the 34-member committee included attorneys from large law firms, small law firms, legal aid organizations, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Public Defender, chief information officers, a representative from the federal courts, judges, Judiciary managers, and the acting administrative director of the courts. 

When he appointed the special committee in 2008, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner asked the members to examine the Judiciary’s case filing and case processing systems and to identify the best way to achieve comprehensive e-filing systems for the Judiciary’s many case types in the shortest possible time.  The committee addressed questions such as the type of e-filing system that should be used; whether the Judiciary’s current e-filing systems could be expanded or improved upon; how to integrate electronic filings by attorneys with existing case management systems; where the greatest need for e-filing exists and where the greatest opportunities lie for rapid deployment; how to identify and obtain resources both within the Judiciary and from the private sector; how New Jersey can benefit from e-filing practices in other court systems; and what time frames should be considered reasonable to expand e-filing in the New Jersey Judiciary.

As a result of in-depth study of those issues, the special committee made 38 recommendations to the Supreme Court.  The committee explored the implications surrounding a comprehensive technology shift that would transform case management, tracking, scheduling and decision-making.

Some of its key recommendations include:            

  • Developing a comprehensive e-filing system that addresses document filing, case management, records management and public access aspects of court work.
  • Adopting a standard format for e-filing so that attorneys, judges, court staff and others can learn to use one single system even if they work in different practice areas;
  • Enabling users to pay filing fees electronically;
  • Eliminating redundant data entry by using e-filing to populate data fields in the Judiciary’s existing case management systems;
  • Creating a system that allows judges and court staff to maintain case notes, schedule events, create calendars, produce notices and produce case management reports;
  • Providing remote access to judges, law clerks, court staff and others;
  • Providing the public with access to open court records while maintaining the security of documents and data when appropriate;
  • Requiring use of e-filing by attorneys and judges, and developing accommodations for self-represented litigants;
  • Implementing e-filing in general equity/foreclosure and Tax Court cases first;
  • Developing an e-filing plan that maximizes the Judiciary’s flexibility and avoiding e-filing plans that rely on a single third-party vendor;
  • Developing a Web-enabled e-filing system for maximum accessibility;
  • Seeking filing fee increases and/or additional user fees to help pay for e-filing;
  • Exploring the possibility of working with other states to share the cost of developing an e-filing system.

Those seeking to comment must do so, in writing, at the following address:

Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.
Acting Administrative Director of the Courts
Comments on E-Filing
Hughes Justice Complex; P.O. Box 037
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0037

Comments on the report also may be submitted by e-mail to the following address: Comments.Mailbox@njcourts.gov.

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