Florida's courts moving to electronic filing system

3:33 PM, Jul 27, 2012   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - Florida's court records are going electronic.

The Florida Supreme Court wants all court documents filed electronically by the end of 2013. Justices set up the Florida Court Technology Commission to figure out how to transition from a paper system to an electronic one in all 67 counties.

Courts are facing a series of deadlines over the next year that will require them to use Florida's new eFiling Portal for documents.

Commission member Judge George Reynolds says it was a daunting challenge to create a workable set of standards for both large and small court clerk offices but he thinks Florida is ready to meet its first deadline in October.

Judge Reynolds says the new e-filing system is expected to save money but it also creates some concerns.

"Think about a court file that's 10,000 pages long. It's like reading War and Peace on your computer screen. From a judge's perspective that's going to be very difficult. But we will learn and we'll adapt."

Judge Reynolds says the commission also addressed concerns about electronic security and making sure e-data is not accidentally lost.

He calls that a critical concern and says the commission has taken plenty of precautions.

"We have backup after backup after backup. You have to have a secure on-site facility and then a secure off-site facility to back up the data because in a paperless world the data is the paper. It is the document and if you lose it could present a whole host of problems."

All court filings for the Supreme Court and appellate courts must be electronic starting October 1. Civil, probate and family law matters will follow next April and then criminal, traffic and juvenile cases must meet a deadline of October, 2013.

Dave Heller

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