Texas Joins Slow National Conversion to Paperless Court Filings


Change has come slowly, but Texas is among a number of states where courts are converting from a paper-intensive to a paperless operation, reports Stateline. The new electronic system in Texas uses a fee-based model in which private sector providers act as electronic couriers and a centralized service provider is a sort of electronic post office. Around the country, private sector companies are willing to pay many of the upfront costs of building electronic court filing systems in the hopes of eventually making their money back — and then some — through fees.

Most state judiciaries are now moving toward electronic filing, although with dramatically varying degrees of speed and sophistication. Some electronic systems simply allow litigants to email files to the court. Others automate a host of judicial functions, such as sending notices to other involved parties when a document has been filed or a judge has taken action on a case. According to the National Center for State Courts, statewide electronic filing is up and running in Delaware, Colorado, Alabama, Utah and Nebraska, with a number of other state judiciaries phasing in systems that are intended to go statewide eventually. In Nebraska, the state estimates that electronic filing in 2011 saved more than 12,000 hours of administrative court staff time.

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