Bar News - September 21, 2016
Court News: Superior Court to Begin Sending Orders and Notices via Email
The New Hampshire Superior Courts have started this month sending notices and non-confidential orders by email to counsel and self-represented litigants, a practice that will be rolled out statewide over the coming months.
Pro-se parties without email will continue to receive notices and orders via US mail. Staff training is underway, and the roll-out schedule, along with the email address from which notices will be sent, are included in the chart on this page. To effectively implement the change, it is important that all attorneys keep their email addresses current with the NH Bar Association. The court pulls the NHBA information into its own database, creating efficiencies for the court and Bar members.
NH Bar President-elect Scott Harris recently pointed out that the association’s up-to-date database is “one of the advantages of our collaborative, unified Bar.”
To avoid missing important deadlines and to ensure that orders and notices are properly filed and calendared, attorneys and law offices must make some changes related to this transition at the court.
There are two important things every attorney must do. First, each attorney must be sure that the court addresses are not blocked by firewalls or spam filters. The above addresses, or at least the “@courts.state.nh.us” extension must be designated as safe by firewalls or email spam filters.
Second, because law office support staff will no longer be opening envelopes from the court, the attorney of record in a case must make sure that he or she is receiving copies of the emails sent from the court. To do this, attorneys should set up handling rules for court email.
Matt Cairns from Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell has produced a tutorial on how to effectuate the change using Microsoft Outlook email rules so that attorneys can automatically forward emails from the court to anyone in their offices.
The tutorial is available online.
He has also put together a process cheat sheet.
Those who don’t use Outlook can follow the same basic steps in the email system they use.
Once the email rules setup is complete, attorneys may send a test email to NHSuperiortest@courts.state.nh.us. This will generate a bounce-back message that will activate the rule. Attorneys are encouraged to verify that all of those designated by the email rule have received a copy of the bounce-back email.
The rollout of e-filing for civil cases in Superior Court has been delayed while court officials work on improvements to the bench module that will be used by judges to process and rule on cases, explains NH Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau.
“I thought this would be a good time to take first step in getting lawyers used to getting email notices and orders, to get us all in the mindset for when Superior Court civil cases eventually roll out,” she said.
Attorneys with questions regarding the new process can contact Superior Court Administrator Karen Gorham. For questions on creating email rules, contact Cairns.