Virginia's Courts remain one of the few systems in the United States that do not have a functioning e-filign system. Legal papers still must be filed on paper signed by attorneys at the courthouse between normal business hours. This is not only unnecessary in today's electronic age, it is costly, inefficient, and results in thousands of wasted hours of productivity, wasted paper, and limits public access to information.
During the 2010 Legislative Session, I partnered with Fairfax County Clerk John T. Frey to introduce legislation to facilitate the adoption of "e-filing" in Virginia by eliminating a requirement that all e-filing be governed by the Rules of Court.
Due to its size, Fairfax County has very unique circumstances compared to the rest of the state. Our civil dockets make up the vast majority of our dockets - in most other jurisdictions, criminal cases are more prevalent in Circuit Court. Fairfax County Circuit Court also has a case volume that is much larger than most other systems.
My legislation was ultimately incorporated into several other bills, passed, and signed by the Governor on April 11, 2010. The purpose was to give localities the flexibility to adopt the systems most appropriate for their circumstances.
This week, the Supreme Court of Virginia announced new rules to facilitate electronic filing. The new rules are posted here:
Proposed comments are due before March 30, 2012.
I am happy we are finally making progress on modernizing our court system. Electronic filing will ultimately save taxpayers and litigants millions of dollars of expenses and attorney's fees, plus make our system more open and available to the public.