Electronic Court Filings: The New Norm for NY Court Houses?
New York courts had to pause certain legal functions, such as filing of motions or court filings for nonessential lawsuits, to give way for social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Since April, however, the NY courts have been slowly lifting restrictions as the state’s legislative system resumed full function of their services — but not without changes.
One of the biggest changes involves switching from in-person court filing to electronic filing. The announcement from Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks came three weeks after the courts resumed sessions and pending cases via virtual conferences. Fifty-three New York state counties have authorized electronic filing programs through the New York State Courts Electronic Filing System (NYSCEF) for all case types in the Supreme Courts.
From filing for tenant matters to serving court documents on e-filed matters, almost everything can be done online in NY — for the safety and convenience of all parties involved.
Limited (or No) Physical Trips to the Courthouse
Social distancing is highly encouraged during the pandemic. Less interaction with people reduces the spread of the infection. But what if you have to file documents or serve court papers?
Fortunately, law firms have a regional or national scope. You need not drop by the nearest law firm since electronic filing makes it possible to file documents from virtually anywhere. A New York law firm can submit documents to California as long as they have the proper electronic filing set-up.
In terms of tracking, you need not walk from one courthouse to another. Many courts have switched to e-filing and now use electronic docket systems. This enables court employees to browse through all filed documents efficiently and quickly. As a bonus, some of these dockets are also searchable.
Faster Filing for Faster Resolutions
When you can file documents quickly, expect immediate notice. This allows you to react faster to newer developments in your care. Quicker filing also reduces the time for legal discussion, which cuts the time to physically appear in court (if needed).
Also, you don’t have to wonder if the judge has made their decision. You’ll immediately receive a notification as soon as something is filed. You can also take action on information and judicial decisions, which may lead to better results.
Virtually Instant Access
Once you file a document with the court, it is quickly reviewed and approved. In case of a rejection, you don’t have to wait for a document to be returned to you in the mail. Clerks can reject electronically. When they do, you’ll receive a notification so that you can fix the error and resubmit. You need not physically receive mail, which reduces the transmission of COVID-19.
Apart from the COVID-19-related benefits, electronic filing can also save you money on court-related spending. Parties need not physically mail documents, saving you money on paper and postage. Also, some courthouses no longer require sending hard copies of legal documents for the judge’s review. Filing your documents online satisfies their submission requirements, which would have taken much of your time and budget.
Resolution for legal cases is a priority, but so is safety during a pandemic. If you have more questions about electronic filing or if you wish to know how you can apply this to your case, consult with your attorney.