In a move that ultimately will forever change how the courts do
business, lawyers may electronically file certain cases starting
July 1, 2004.
"This clearly puts the
Connecticut Judicial Branch into the 21st century,"
Chief Court Administrator Joseph H. Pellegrino said. "And while
we are starting out with a limited number of cases that may be
e-filed, our plan is to create a fully-integrated paperless
e-filing system for all civil, family, and small claims cases."
The first phase of the project
will allow for statewide e-filing of the following cases:
vehicular torts, property damage only; defective premises
private, snow and ice; defective premises, private other;
defective premises public, snow and ice; and defective premises,
Judge Pellegrino stressed that
e-filing is simply another option for attorneys. "No one will be
forced to e-file documents, and if someone prefers to file a
case through the traditional paper method, they may do so," the
Nevertheless, he said, there are
several benefits to e-filing. Among them:
Electronic filing allows
judges, attorneys, litigants and court staff to file and
access documents electronically via the Internet, 365 days a
year, seven days a week, and 21˝ hours per day (the system
will be unavailable from 4 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.).
Documents can be filed or
accessed in any location, at any time, and with basic
equipment and basic computer knowledge.
Multiple parties, including
judges, attorneys, court personnel or litigants, can access
documents at the same time.
Electronic filing services are
free. The only cost will be filing fees – the same fees that
are incurred with paper documents.
Electronic filing is
ecologically friendly and will greatly reduce the vast amount
of paperwork generated by the courts. Additionally, more and
more government agencies are allowing access to their business
processes through the Internet, as they move away from paper.
Electronic filing will help
the courts operate with increased efficiency that will
directly affect attorneys and their clients.
"As e-filing gets up and rolling,
we see this as a win-win situation for everybody," Judge
The Judicial Branch has spent the
past several months preparing to implement e-filing, following
Judge Pellegrino’s directive that the Branch have it online by
July 1, 2004. Among the Branch’s top priorities has been the
training of court personnel and lawyers statewide, to ensure
that e-filing proceeds as smoothly as possible.
"We can’t expect e-filing to
succeed without people knowing how it will work," Judge
Pellegrino said. "To that end, we have devoted much time and
effort to educating people about the new system."
Information will be available
through various publications and also on the Judicial Branch’s
award-winning website, at www.jud.ct.gov.
E-filing is but one of several
e-services offered through the Branch’s website. Others include:
case and party lookup for civil, family, small claims, and
housing matters; downloadable, fillable forms; online attorney
registration and calendar markings; and docket management
For further information, please
contact Melissa A. Farley, executive director of External
Affairs, at 860-757-2270.