Electronic Filing is Coming! Electronic Filing is Coming! (In the Appellate Division)

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey have each had electronic filing for a number of years.  Now, the Appellate Division is moving toward electronic filing as well.  At tonight’s meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Committee, members of the Appellate Division Clerk’s Office previewed the system that will soon be in use in the Appellate Division.

The system appears very user-friendly.  It creates a number of documents, such as the notice of appeal and others, automatically as the user enters information of the same type that is now put into the standard forms currently in use.  When a notice of appeal is filed, the system will instantly send copies to counsel for the respondent, the trial judge, and the court reporting office in the relevant county.

Electronic filing will be available through the Judiciary website, www.njcourtsonline.com.  The process is contained in a series of pages, each of which has detailed instructions as to what the page is intended to do and what the user must do to move ahead with the filing.  Each page also tells the user, in percentage terms, how far along the overall process is.  Where Court Rules are cited, there are hyperlinks to those rules, meaning that there is no need to open a rulebook to see what the rules say.

Like all electronic filing systems, this one will enable filers to save on postage, to file papers 24/7, rather than having to meet a 5 P.M. deadline, and to access any document in the case file with the click of a mouse.  There will be a reduction, but not an elimination, of copying costs, since three hard copies of briefs will still need to be filed with the Appellate Division.  Further in the future, it is anticipated that hard copies may no longer be needed.  But we are not there yet.

Electronic filing in the Appellate Division is not yet as close as the British were on the 18th of April in ’75, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow so memorably wrote.  But the Clerk’s Office  currently anticipates that the system will be up and running, at least for some users, within 12-15 months.  Electronic filing in the Supreme Court, however, is still “a ways off.”


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