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High Court Announces Electronic Filing

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

If all courts were like the U.S. Supreme Court, then access to the law would literally be free. They might also take a little longer to allow electronic filing.

The High Court announced that it will make "virtually all filings" available to the public at no cost. It is part of a new electronic filing system, to be up and running by Nov. 13, 2017, and similar to programs already working in other federal courts.

"Attorneys who expect to file documents at the Court will register in advance to obtain access to the electronic filing system," the court said in a press release. "Registration will open 4-8 weeks before the system begins operation."

Website Redesign

The new system comes as part of the Supreme Court's website redesign, which went live on July 28. As in most beta tests, the website rolled out to mixed reviews.

Brianne Gorod, chief counsel of the Constitutional Accountability Center, welcomed the upgrades. Others, not so much.

"This is a bloodbath travesty," said a freelance reporter, commenting on the red background on the webpages.

Some critics pointed out glitches, like miscalendered cases. However, those problems were quickly resolved.

Following the Lower Courts

Most federal courts have required electronic filing for years. Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, said the Supreme Court update is a welcome change.

"I'm confident the justices will find it to be a positive step toward modernity, and I hope it leads to others, such as live audio for oral arguments and a software-based conflict check system," he said.

In the meantime, parties will continue to file documents on paper. Parties represented by counsel will also submit electronically, and unrepresented parties will submit paper to court personnel to be scanned and uploaded to the system.

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