Summer 2010-#2. E-Filing Is Coming.

Authorby Hon. John A. Dooley, III, Hon. Thomas S. Durkin, and Therese Corsones, Esq.

Vermont Bar Journal


Summer 2010-#2.

E-Filing Is Coming

THE VERMONT BAR JOURNALVolume 36, No. 2Summer 2010E-Filing Is Comingby Hon. John A. Dooley, III, Hon. Thomas S. Durkin, and Therese Corsones, Esq.Electronic filing ("e-filing") is coming to the Vermont state courts, starting in October in the Rutland and Windsor Civil Divisions, and rolling out through all the courts in 2011. This first version of e-filing is called "eCabinet." A much enhanced version of e-filing, called "VCase e-filing," will be implemented in conjunction with the new judiciary case management system in 2012. This article is to explain to members of the Vermont bar what is coming, the ongoing work of developing e-filing, and the advantages for the courts, lawyers, and litigants.

An essential component of the judiciary restructuring project is the introduction of new technologies to make the courts more efficient and more accessible, both to lawyers and self-represented litigants. The use of new technologies in the courts was widely supported in the focus groups and local bar association meetings that were held in the development of the restructuring proposals; increasing the courts' use of improved technologies was also strongly embraced in the report of the Commission on Judicial Operations. Despite the severe funding limitations that have plagued court budgets in the last couple of years, money is available for technological enhancements through a dedicated technology fund that is fed by a share of fine and fee proceeds. A federal grant also has provided a sizable portion of the funds for this project.

The restructuring law, including the mandatory funding cut, has accelerated the timetable for implementing new technologies and has expanded their scope. As a result, the Vermont judiciary is now going through the most aggressive and comprehensive technological improvement project in the nation to introduce new technology into court operations.

In this article, we discuss the implementation of e-filing and the electronic (nonpaper) case file, a major part of the judiciary's technology improvement project. By e-filing we mean the filing of documents and other information into the court's case file by electronic means through a portal accessible on the internet. Many Vermont lawyers have already been using e-filing in the United States District Court and the United States Bankruptcy Court. A number of the features of eCabinet and VCASE efiling will be familiar...

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