SUPREME COURT APPROVAL OF E-FILING PROPOSAL ESSENTIAL TO OFFSET BUDGET CUTS
The Electronic Filing of Lawsuits and Other Documents Would Mean Cost Savings for Attorneys, Courts and Public
WEST PALM BEACH, FL (May 25, 2010) – Clerk & Comptroller Sharon Bock submitted an application this month to the Florida Supreme Court E-Filing Committee to allow electronic filing of lawsuits and other documents, a move designed to save time for both the public and the court system. If approved by the E-Filing Committee, the Clerk’s office hopes to start allowing electronic document submissions in early 2011.
“We are hopeful that the committee will permit us to bring electronic filing to Palm Beach County,” said Bock. “Attorneys will save time and money, clerks will spend significantly less time processing paperwork and court documents will be more quickly available to court officials and the public. This will make the whole judicial process faster, more efficient and less expensive to operate.”
Budget cuts since the 2009 legislative session have slashed funding for Bock’s office by $7.1 million, leading to the loss of 109 jobs. The resulting backlog of court documents and two- to three-hour waits to pay traffic tickets have angered the public, attorneys and other court officials. E-filing, and its next logical step—paperless courts—will not only reduce the cost of the state-funded judicial system, but also provide the public with easier and more convenient access to records.
The E-Filing system will be a safe, secure way for attorneys and others to submit court documents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without traveling to the courthouse. Users will receive e-mail confirmation with the date and time of the filing once their documents have been reviewed and accepted by the clerk.
Florida Bar members in good standing would be required to register and receive unique login credentials to use the system. Members of the public representing themselves in legal matters also can access the system by using government-issued identification, like a driver license, to receive login information.
In case of a hurricane or other catastrophic event, systems would switch to a secure site in Tallahassee to allow for uninterrupted service.
The Clerk’s application has the backing of 15th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Peter Blanc, who urged the Supreme Court committee’s approval. In his letter to the committee, Chief Judge Blanc wrote: “I am confident that approval and implementation of E-Filing would go a long way in providing justice to the citizens in the 15th Judicial Circuit and am looking forward to a favorable consideration.”
For more information about the Clerk’s office, please visit www.mypalmbeachclerk.com or call (561) 355-2996.
The Florida Constitution established the independent office of the Clerk & Comptroller as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk Sharon Bock is directly elected by and accountable to Palm Beach County residents. In addition to the roles of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk & Comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for Palm Beach County.
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