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Hillsborough Clerk Provides Update to e-Filing Status

I’ve recently been writing about e-Filing in Tampa Bay Family Law cases.  Many attorneys, like myself, are pushing for swift and comprehensive implementation of e-Filing (the option of filing documents electronically through the internet rather than sending a paper copy to the physical location of the clerk of the court) because, as I wrote in a previous post regarding the related concept of a “paperless office,”

money is saved on paper and postage; space is saved from bulky file cabinets; trees are saved from being cut down; and time is saved by quick transmittal of documents via e-mail.  This usually also translates to savings for the customer or client.

It looks like Hillsborough County is targeting July 2012 to implement e-Filing for family law cases.  From the Hillsborough Clerk of the Court:

 In 2009, the Florida Legislature enacted Chapter 2009-61, Laws of Florida, mandating that the Supreme Court of Florida create statewide standards for electronic filing of court documents.  Governor Charlie Crist signed the bill into law.  On July 1 of that year, the Florida Supreme Court responded with Supreme Court Administrative Order 09-30, which outlined the first set of statewide standards for electronic filing of court documents.  One of the standards required that a portal be created through which electronically filed court documents could be sent.  The standards are outlined for all 67 Clerks of Court in the State of Florida to follow to implement electronic filing of court documents.

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Tampa Bay Clerks of the Court Slow to Implement e-Filing

You may have heard of the term “paperless office,” where documents are stored on networks and hard drives rather than in physical drawers and filing cabinets.  The advantages of the paperless office over traditional means of storing documents include the following: money is saved on paper and postage; space is saved from bulky file cabinets; trees are saved from being cut down; and time is saved by quick transmittal of documents via e-mail.  This usually also translates to savings for the customer or client.

Well, the Florida Courts have set their sights on a paperless court system.  This starts out with e-filing (the filing of documents via the internet rather than dropping off paper copies).  e-Filing began through Florida’s e-Filing Portal in January 2012, and the clerks of the Court have set a goal to have all counties accepting e-filing for their civil (non-criminal) divisions through the Portal by July 1, 2012.

Many counties have been quick to implement e-filing through the Portal.  In fact, according to a presentation provided at the February 1, 2012, e-Filing Authority Board Meeting, 41 counties now accept at least some filing electronically through the portal.  Polk County is included in these counties, though it does not yet accept e-filing for family law cases.

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Hillsborough County Intends to Implement e-Filing by March 2012

Members of the Florida Bar have long been making the case for e-filing, or the ability to file documents through the internet rather than filing a physical copy with the clerk of the court.  E-filing holds the promise of reducing the time and costs associated with interacting with the clerk.  The Florida Supreme Court authorized e-filing through the Florida Court’s e-filing portal, which became active for some counties on January 1, 2011.

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