The Greening of Florida’s Courts

Thanks to a recent ruling, offices and legal libraries will soon be slimming down… or at least their “paper” waistlines won’t bulge any further than they already have! A new ruling will require nearly all court documents to be filed electronically and those bulging shelves will soon become a thing of the past. The News Service of Florida recently stated that this “may lead to paper court files going the way of phone books and taxes in the increasingly e-world.”

The decision didn’t come quickly though. There have been countless articles and studies pushing for a new paperless court. The proposed changes were extensively studied by the Florida Bar rules committee and many other groups. Many Florida trial courts have already been using electronic records for a variety of reasons, including lack of space, manpower, etc. The difference now is that instead of it being a matter of individual court choice, electronic filing will be required and should be in place by the end of 2013.

This will all take place in steps with the first being on October 1, 2012 for cases that affect the Supreme Court and district courts of appeal. After that, the new filing requirements will take affect April 1, 2013 for parts of trial courts handling civil, probate, small claims and family law cases and on October 1, 2013 for the parts of the courts that handle criminal, traffic and juvenile cases.

Most agree that changing from paper to electronic filing is a huge step forward in the areas of efficiency, sustainability, cost cutting and time. What are your thoughts about this? Please share your comments with us!

Additional reading on this topic and the road to paperless:

Florida Court E-Filing How to Video

Fla. Clerks’ Offices Prepare to Go Paperless

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