The switch to digital is transcending into the Texas judicial system. Progress continues throughout the state of Texas as a new electronic filing, known as e-filing, mandate picks up momentum.
Under the mandate, all civil cases, as well as case types in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and appellate courts, filed in the state's 10 populated counties, must be filed electronically. This includes Denton and Collin counties, who have already started e-filing.
The mandate created the eFileTexas.gov system, a platform that when fully implemented will provide efficiency, government transparency, and reduce costs to both lawyers and clients, according to a press release from eFileTexas.gov.
David Slayton, administrative director of the Texas Office of Court Administration, said the mandatory rollout for the top 10 most populous counties began Jan. 1, with more counties being added every six months and ultimately ending July 2016. The next rollout is set for July 2014 and will include counties with a population of 200,000–499,999, Slayton said.
Provided by Plano-based Tyler Technologies, the system first went live in June 2013 in Gregg County, and now includes 53 counties, according to the release. The system works by accepting electronic documents from attorneys or other filers through web portals. Then the documents are sent out to the appropriate county or appellate court where they will be accepted into the case management system.
In a press conference held at Tyler Technologies in Plano Jan. 31, Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Slayton and elected court officials met to discuss and highlight the mandate's progress throughout the state of Texas.
"We appreciate Texas clerks, judges and attorneys efforts this month to become accustomed to the new e-filing system," Slayton said. "Their persistence and patience is a huge factor in why eFileTexas.gov has had a successful launch."
President of Tyler's Courts and Justice Division Bruce Graham said, "This project is an outstanding example of how technology can make government more efficient by bringing it into a digital environment."
Slayton said as the process continues, there will be a better projection of monetary savings the mandate provides. However through early feedback, he said Dallas County has already saved half a million dollars in storage through the e-filing system.