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Bar News - November 16, 2012

Circuit Court Allows Email Exchanges

In an administrative order dated Nov. 2, 2012, Circuit Court Administrative Judge Edwin Kelly has announced that legal parties and counsel may now exchange copies of pleadings and other communications by email.

The text of Administrative Order 2012-06 reads:

"After any legal action has been properly initiated in the Circuit Court, parties and counsel may agree to accept copies of pleadings and other communications from each other by email. Upon agreement to accept copies by email, copies provided by email shall be deemed to comply with District Division Rule 1.3-A, Family Division Rule 1.23 and Probate Division Rule 21. Parties and counsel who agree to accept email for these purposes shall provide to each other an email address to which copies may be delivered. When email is used to transmit copies, the certificate of service shall indicate that copies were provided by email. Nothing in this Administrative Order modifies case initiation service requirements as set forth in statutes or court rules."

A similar order, Administrative Order 2012-01, allowing such exchanges in superior court cases was approved on April 2, 2012 by the Superior Court.

These actions reflect the realization that the courtsí rules can be loosened to reflect the reality of electronic communications today. At the same time, court officials are working behind the scenes on plans to implement the "e-Court" project which would convert all interactions with the state courts into electronic processes. Funding limitations have slowed the project and redirected it: the Judicial Branch is now working on proving the e-Court concept by implementing it for a single, high-volume case type, small-claims cases, to demonstrate early success and thus strengthen the case for an appropriate level of funding.

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