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eFiling becomes mandatory for attorneys, agencies, GALs in 11 pilot counties on July 1

Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Beginning July 1, 2015, attorneys, government agencies, and guardians ad litem will be required to electronically file and serve documents in all court cases filed in the 11 eCourtMN pilot counties.  This includes all cases filed in Cass, Clay, Cook, Dakota, Faribault, Hennepin, Kandiyohi, Lake, Morrison, Ramsey, and Washington counties.

On July 1, 2016, those same filers will be required to electronically file and serve documents in all district court cases statewide.

Expanding the availability and mandatory use of the eFile and eServe system is a major milestone in the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s eCourtMN initiative, which is transforming the state’s court system by replacing paper-based court files with an electronic information environment.  The goal of the eCourtMN initiative – which received a 2014 State Government Innovation Award from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs – is to make the state’s court system more accessible, more efficient, and more convenient for court customers.

One of the key elements of the eCourtMN initiative is giving case participants the ability to submit documents to the court and serve documents to opposing parties electronically, through an online portal.  This allows court customers to file documents without traveling to the courthouse or paying for postage or courier costs, allows filers to submit documents immediately and outside of courthouse business hours, and allows court documents to be sent to filers electronically.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch began pilot testing eFiling and eService in 2012, and today attorneys and government agencies are able to eFile and eServe in 11 pilot counties, though use of the system is optional in several case types.

In April, the Minnesota Supreme Court adopted amendments to the Minnesota Rules of Court that provided a timeline for a statewide expansion of eFiling and eService to all 87 Minnesota counties:
 
  • July 1, 2015: Use of the eFile and eServe system will become mandatory for attorneys, government agencies, and guardians ad litem in all court cases filed in the 11 eCourtMN pilot counties.
  • End of 2015: By the end of 2015, the Minnesota Judicial Branch is aiming to make eFiling and eService available in the remaining 76 counties.  Use of the eFile and eServe system for cases filed in those counties will be voluntary upon implementation.  More information on when eFiling and eService will be available in the non-pilot counties will be provided in the future.
  • July 1, 2016: Use of the eFile and eServe system will become mandatory for attorneys, government agencies, and guardians ad litem in all district court cases statewide.
Other court filers – such as self-represented litigants and medical examiners – will be able to begin eFiling in the 11 pilot counties on July 1, 2015, and in other counties as eFiling becomes available.  These filers will be able to choose whether to file on paper or through the eFile and eServe system, though Court Rules require that once a filer has used the eFile and eServe system to file a document, he or she must use the eFile and eServe system for all future documents filed in that case.

Training and Resources Available to Filers

In order to help attorneys, government agencies, and guardians ad litem prepare for mandatory eFiling and eService, the Minnesota Judicial Branch has posted informational resources, training materials, and a three-step guide to starting eFiling.  Training on how to use the eFile and eServe system is available through live and recorded webinars, and in-person at both the Hennepin County Government Center and, in June and July, the Ramsey County Courthouse.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch also operates a support center for filers with questions about the eFile and eServe system.  The eFile Support Center is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and can be reached at (651) 227-2002, 1-855-291-8246, or by contact form.