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Supreme Court approves mandatory eFiling rule

Madison, Wisconsin - March 18, 2016

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, on March 17, gave final approval to a rule that will result in the implementation of mandatory electronic filing (eFiling) statewide for all case types during the next several years.

The Court approved, as amended, Rule Petition 14-03 (Wis. Stat. § 801.18), which establishes procedures for court documents to be filed electronically. eFiling is rapidly gaining popularity as a more convenient and efficient alternative to paper filing for lawyers and parties in a case, as well as for circuit courts throughout the state. eFiling allows parties to file and access documents without a trip to the courthouse and reduces the need for physical storage space.

Although the rule takes effect July 1, mandatory eFiling will be phased in according to a schedule to be set by the director of state courts on a county-by-county or case-type basis. Mandatory eFiling will be established first in a small number of pilot counties that already offer voluntary eFiling in civil, family, small claims, and paternity cases and then expand in those case types to other counties statewide by the end of 2017. Other case types will be added with a targeted completion date for mandatory eFiling in all case types statewide by Dec. 31, 2019.

The mandatory eFiling system will replace the current voluntary eFiling program, which is used for limited case types by 52 counties, said Jean Bousquet, chief information officer for the Wisconsin Court system. The rule established for voluntary eFiling will remain in effect until July 1, 2016, when the new rule will go into effect for all eFiling participants, Bousquet said.

An electronic filing fee of $20 per party per case will be established to pay for the program, said Director of State Courts J. Denis Moran. The fee will be waived for indigent parties and for governmental units, such as district attorneys, public defenders, child support agencies, the state Department of Justice, and county and municipal attorneys.

The court system’s Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) staff will implement the program, with the help of contractors during the initial phases. Expenditures are projected at about $2 million a year from 2017 through 2019, with revenue beginning to catch up with expenditures in 2018.

Tom Sheehan
Court Information Officer
(608) 261-6640

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