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In the April issue of inside The Hennepin Lawyer, Nancy Peters introduced plans for an e-filing pilot project at Hennepin County District Court: The Civil Electronic Filing Pilot Project. As this project becomes established, the court will provide HCBA members with regular updates. The court is seeking to have a variety of law firm types included in the pilot. This month, Peters answers “frequently asked questions” about the e-filing project.
What types of cases are in the pilot?
Hennepin Civil Division will pilot only new, attorney-initiated civil cases.
Can I file old or current civil cases?
During the pilot there are no plans to convert existing cases; the court will only start new ones. The court may consider scanning a select number of existing cases as part of the pilot, but the general expectation is for “day forward” cases.
What does the pilot include?
E-filing will include “paper on demand” (paper copy as needed) files, e-filing of all documents by parties represented by attorneys, e-service of notices—including court notices, orders and judgments. Parties not represented by attorneys in a case that was initiated by an attorney will be included in the pilot.
When does the pilot begin?
The targeted date to begin the pilot is late summer or early fall 2010.
We hear a lot about the state’s budget problems, so where is the money coming from to pay for e-filing?
Vacancy savings and budget planning are funding the e-filing pilot in Hennepin County.
How long will the pilot be?
The length of the pilot depends on how well it goes. It will continue until all of the issues are identified and worked out, ideally by the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2011.
When will e-filing roll-out to other Hennepin courts?
A schedule has not been determined yet, however, all of Civil, Probate/Mental Health, Conciliation, Housing and Family courts would likely roll-out before Criminal and Juvenile courts.
Are other districts piloting e-filing?
Hennepin is the only district piloting Civil e-filing at this time. Ramsey County is participating in Hennepin’s planning effort and is very interested in implementing e-filing as soon as possible.
What have other law firms and attorneys said about e-filing?
Law firms and attorneys are just as
interested as the courts are in the efficiency and cost savings that e-filing will provide to their daily operations. E-filing is already used in the federal courts and lawyers are eager for state courts to implement it.
Who is participating in the pilot?
Hennepin County District Court will partner with selected attorneys/firms to help develop the right processes as a model for the rest of the state; eventually including e-filing for all case types by all types of parties.
How long will it take to learn e-filing?
Filing parties will find that they can learn how to use the application in about 45 minutes.
Is e-filing free or for a fee?
At this time, the court is planning not to charge the firms that help with the pilot. During the pilot the court will absorb some of the e-filing fees. After the pilot, charges may be passed on to the parties.
Is electronic document management required for e-filing?
Yes, it is. If a court does not have electronic document management, it will become available as needed when e-filing is implemented.
How can I make a comment or ask more questions about e-filing?
Send an e-mail to Nancy.Peters@courts.state.mn.us. More information can be found on the website at http://mncourts.gov/district/4/?page=3953.