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E-filing: Meaning & Application
In 2020, e-filing becomes necessary. In fact, it's a key legal term that everyone should be familiar with. It's also a legal technology term. As many courts' in-person operations were suspended as a result of the epidemic, e-filing gained popularity and reputation this year. While social segregation measures are in place, courts that were previously reluctant to experiment with e-filing enabled systems are now allowing digital document submissions; a trend that some hope will continue even after the pandemic is over.
It is crucial that legal professionals, including lawyers, paralegals, and attorneys, fully comprehend the systems in place in order to make assessments about how to implement e-filing processes for their cases as more courts move to adopt e-filing.
What is E-filing?
"Electronic filing" is referred to as "e-filing." It is the act of submitting court documents electronically rather than by presenting them to a court clerk in person. Michigan's e-filing procedure makes use of a program named MiFILE.
The State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) of Michigan and Michigan Legal Help collaborated to create this e-filing tool. In Michigan, courts are starting to embrace electronic filing of court documents and may make it mandatory. To understand more, read this article.
The Supreme Court of India began accepting electronic filings on October 2, 2006, in an effort to make justice more readily available and less expensively.
Through its subsequent approval in the e-court project that the Indian government approved in February 2007, this technological breakthrough received widespread acclaim. The National Informatics Center (NIC) has created user-friendly software with interactive elements as part of this project.
The electronic filing of court documents is known as electronic court filing, or ECF for short. Court documents filed electronically become part of the public record and can be cited in court proceedings. Legal procedures, such as lawsuits, are not regarded as valid if documents are not submitted to a court and cannot proceed. Some courts are opening up e-filing systems to allow the general public to submit and file specific preliminary papers with courts, such as name-change and marriage petitions, although many e-filing systems are gated and require an attorney or EFSP for access.
Advantages of E-filing
There are so many advantages of e-filing as given below −
E-filing is Swift
Speed is crucial for litigators in their day-to-day work. It is agonizing to try to balance scheduling with the time needed for courts to receive and process physical documentation while also trying to prepare for a court case, which has many intricacies and needs. By enabling submitted documents to be moved to the appropriate location inside the courthouse more quickly at every stage of the procedure, electronic filing lessens some of that strain. Information can be processed without having to wait for its turn in the pile on someone's desk because there is no need for human data entry or physical sorting and management.
In a case study published earlier this month, speed is listed as one of the main advantages of electronic filing. The study's findings show that wider adoption of e-filing will only lead to better outcomes. It evaluates the advantages of the new e-filing system's adoption in Massachusetts appellate courts. According to State Auditor Suzanne Bump, processing time would have decreased by 22% if "eFileMA had been used for all briefs and motions assessed during our audit."
E-filing is more Accurate
Filing is easier with electronic filing. Within the system of the court, files can be automatically sent where they should be. There is less potential for human error when inputting incorrect data from the document into the court databases, submitting the document to the incorrect department of the court, or accidentally losing a file. Lawyers can relax about the burdens of lost and misplaced files in an e-filing system because improper handling of paperwork is less of a concern.
Additionally, the intake and filing processes are made more open and transparent. Quick feedback on filing status, fees, and records that are available online through an internet portal is given to filers through e-filing systems. Accessing files for lawyers, attorneys, and the public is easier now that they are available electronically.
E-filing Occupies Less Space
Paper records occupy significant space even though they were thought to be practical and reliable for courts. In addition to depositories for copies of high-profile cases, there are entire warehouses devoted to storing court papers. While digitizing documents can reduce the amount of on-site document storage required by a court and legal firms, it does not eliminate the need for backup storage.
E-filing is better for the Environment
Due to the high upfront costs of implementing an e-filing infrastructure, e-filing has been opposed since its inception. The long-term benefits of electronic investments have been shown by ongoing audits and assessments against a Florida study in Manatee County that began in 2008. E-filing decreases the amount of paper that must be utilized in courts by doing away with printed papers for the first filing as well as numerous copies and printouts that must be delivered to involved parties in the court system.
E-filing is Mandatory
E-filing knowledge is becoming mandatory (gradually). In India, some of the issues need to be filed electronically only, as manually not accepted. Likewise, sooner or later, e-filing is being implemented in many systems as a result of the epidemic.
The process of electronically filing taxes, often known as "e-filing," involves using internet software that has been authorized by the applicable tax authorities of the particular country. Depending on local tax laws and government regulations, many countries—and perhaps even individual countries, province by province—may let individuals, small businesses, and other professions file electronically. A growing number of people are using electronic filing because of the many advantages it provides.
Q1. What is the purpose of electronic filing?
Ans. Electronic file management, also known as electronic document management, is the process of importing, storing, and managing written and visual materials as computer files. Data from paper-based documents is scanned and captured, files are converted to digital format, and hard copies can be discarded.
Q2. Why do we need e-filing?
Ans. The electronically filed reporting passes the input check and is recorded in distinct accounts. E-filing systems have increased data processing efficiency while tolerating technical faults.
Q3. Is e-filing mandatory?
Ans. Though e-filing is not mandatory for many applications, but for some filings, especially in some tribunals and some civil suits, it is mandatory, as manual filing is not acceptable.
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