Northeast Justice Courts Set to Run Paperless Document Management

The Courts are launching new electronic filing and document management systems.  Beginning in July 2011, the Northeast Judicial District Justice Courts, comprised of the Moon Valley, Desert Ridge, McDowell Mountain, and Dreamy Draw Justice Courts, will launch a pilot program for electronic filing and document management.  The program consists of AZTurboCourt, which is a web-based system that will allow users to file documents online, and an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) that will handle the “back end” to store documents electronically, eliminating the need for phyiscal case files and inefficient document processing.  

AZTurboCourt will permit filing of pleadings by the public without having to physically walk the documents to the Clerk of the Court.  Similar systems are already in use by the Federal and Superior Courts in Arizona.   However, generally those systems required the submitting party to have a bar license to submit documents, whereas the implementation of AZTurboCourt will apparently even allow non-lawyers the ability to log on, create and submit new filings online, to include initiating new cases (the present Superior Court system requires initiatory pleadings to be hard filed).  

While we’ve known about AZTurboCourt for a while, EDMS is new.  EDMS will not just be a place to electronically hold documents, but will generate supporting court documents automatically.  It will also automatically track cases by pre-defined schedules, notify staff of due dates, and permit the judges to electronically access case files.   Though hiccups are to be expected, in the long run this should make the court system as a whole flow more smoothly, reduce processing time resulting from transfer of phyiscal files between the Clerk’s office and the judge’s chambers, and generally bring the Court system further into the 21st Century. 

Apparently, the Court system plans to start with the NorthEast judicial district and then gradually implement the system to the remaining justice courts in the Valley over the course of the next 24 months.  

Thomas amp; Craven, PLLC has operated as a “paperless law office” since its inception.  However, we’ve always had to generate paper for court filings because the courts were not set up to receive electronic documents.  We’re really excited about this transition and look forward to the days when we won’t have to generate paper at all.