Bar News - August 17, 2016
NH e-Court Project Update: Preparing for Launch of Estate Cases
By: Gina Belmont
The NH e-Court Project, which seeks to develop electronic filing processes for all New Hampshire court cases, is preparing for an anticipated spring launch of online filing in estate cases.
Gratitude is extended to lawyers and paralegals from the Bernstein Shur Law Firm, Cleveland, Waters & Bass, Flood, Sheehan & Tobin, McGuffin Law, and Sulloway & Hollis for participation at the recent estate input session. Many of their ideas will be incorporated in the electronic filing environment.
To date, 677 law firms and state agencies have electronically filed at least one case-related document. As of mid-July, 15,582 small claims cases and 1,709 guardianship cases had been filed online.
Seven lawyers and paralegals attended the recent “drop in” e-Filing tip session held at the NH Bar Center. Another session was scheduled for Aug. 17.
File and Serve Upgrade
Upgrades to the File and Serve program are scheduled for August. This upgrade will add two features requested by several lawyers:
- American Express will be permitted for payment when electronically filing. This should be in place during the first week of August.
- E-File and Serve will be the default setting for filing into existing cases. This should be in place by the end of August.
The Judicial Branch and the NH e-Court Project staff wish to thank the 183 lawyers and paralegals who responded to our request for input for future enhancements. Here are some frequent responses about the most helpful aspects of the system:
- Being able to e-serve documents rather than relying on US Mail
- Convenience of being able to file after hours, from anywhere, and not having to travel to the courthouse.
- Receiving automatic responses/email notifications/confirmations about the status of filings.
Here are some frequent suggestions for improvements to the e-Filing system:
- Develop remote party access to court files for e-Filed cases. (Update - Efforts have been underway for a couple of months to develop remote party access. Spring 2017 is the target date to implement this enhancement.)
- Set E-File and Serve as the default setting for existing cases. (Update - This improvement is scheduled to go into effect by the end of August.)
- Improve the certification section of many forms so it is easier to certify which parties were electronically served and which were sent copies by US Mail. (Update - This improvement went into effect in late July.)
Many other enhancement suggestions will be implemented where possible.
The New Hampshire Judicial Branch has received a 2016 National Association for Court Management (NACM) “Top 10 Technology Solutions Award” for its use of the TurboCourt e-Filing solution for self-represented litigants. The honor was presented at the NACM Annual Meeting on July 12, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
To date, there have been more than 15 articles about the NH e-Court Project in Bar News dating back to 2012. Moving forward, I will continue to keep you informed about this important initiative. Please contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (603) 271-9924.
Gina Belmont is the NH e-Court Project manager at the NH Judicial Branch.