It’s been a while since we’ve discussed electronic filing of court documents, so it’s time to note some recent “e-filing” developments. Our original 2009 post provides a good introduction to the process, and the reasons it’s being implemented. In a nutshell, filing court documents electronically saves time, money, and paper. Instead of typing up a form from scratch – or completing a fillable PDF document online and printing it out – all the work is done on your computer. Instead of then delivering that paper document to the court clerk, you simply transmit it from your computer. In addition to the obvious benefit to parties in the case, having the files in electronic form also makes it easier for the court system to store and retrieve the information.
Our 2010 followup post noted that the demand from attorneys for e-filing services led to the rise of several private companies that provide that service. In fact, nearly all e-filing services are now provided by private companies. That post also noted that while earlier e-filing was designed for use by attorneys, the benefits for individuals representing themselves were obvious. That led some of those private e-filing providers – with the permission of the courts they served – to start offering e-filing to individual self-represented parties.
As noted in our 2010 post, Georgia was one of the first states to open up e-filing to self-represented individuals in its Magistrate Courts, which mostly handle local small claims and landlord/tenant cases. At that time, there was only one provider; now there are several. Some Georgia Magistrate Courts offer a choice of services. For example, check out Morgan County Magistrate Court (scroll down to the our “Self help, legal research, general information” resource category for link so the e-filing services).
Most e-filing service providers in Georgia serve more than one court, so you would follow a link on the court’s website to the service provider’s court-specific web page. Or you could follow the advice in our 2010 post and ask the court clerk about e-filing. One service provider in Georgia offers e-filing for Magistrate Courts in multiple Georgia counties, all from the same home page. Check out Cook County Magistrate Court resources for a link to that provider. Better yet, check out Bibb County Magistrate Court resources for a links to both that multi-county provider and another provider (yes, another court that offers a choice!).
Keep checking CourtReference for future links to e-filing services – and many other court-related resources – that are geared for use by parties without an attorney.