Oakland Courts taking part in e-filing pilot project

The Oakland County Probate Court will participate in an electronic filing (eFiling) pilot project beginning November 1 with a single judge's docket and limited case types.

The purpose of the pilot project is to study the effectiveness of electronic filing of probate documents in relation to providing the public and legal community access to the court that is easier, faster and more cost effective.

Participation is limited to DE, DA, TV, and CZ cases assigned to Probate Court Judge Daniel A. O'Brien. The case initiation process will remain unchanged and done through paper filing.

Once designated as an eFiling case in the pilot project, it will be mandatory that all further documents are submitted electronically, even by pro per parties unless a waiver is granted by the court. Documents will be filed through the Tyler eFiling portal for a small convenience fee to cover costs.

Training on the system will be provided monthly by Court personnel. The next sessions are scheduled for Wednesdays, Nov. 16 and Dec. 14, at 9 a.m. in the Judicial Conference Room on the 2nd floor of the courthouse. The court also recommends accessing its web-based training demo available at: www.wiznet.com/oakland.mi/login.jsp

Chief Probate Court Judge Linda Hallmark commented, "I am committed to providing excellent service to all of our court customers. The Judicial Resources Recommendations Report issued this summer by the SCAO calls on courts to work cooperatively and also recommends greater use of technology to streamline processes. To that end we have worked with our Circuit Court partners to develop the Probate eFiling pilot project."

In addition to probate eFiling, on November 1, the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court will expand its eFiling pilot project in the Family Division to include a limited number of divorce cases with minor children, case code "DM." Cases in the pilot project will be assigned from Circuit Court Judge Joan Young's docket. The court anticipates expanding the scope of the program to include additional judges in the future.

"We are excited to be expanding eFiling services in the Family Division to include divorce with minor children cases, said Judge Elizabeth Pezzetti, presiding judge of the Circuit Court Family Division. "Although we are starting out with a limited number of cases, our plan is to eventually provide a fully-integrated paperless eFiling system for all divorce cases."

The Circuit Court also announced beginning November 1, case initiating documents for civil cases may be eFiled. Up until now, the civil eFiling pilot project did not allow for case initiating documents to be eFiled. Now, petitioners in civil cases may eFile case initiating documents such as a summons and complaint, a claim of appeal, an application for leave to appeal, or a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Petitioners will have the option to eFile or file through the traditional paper method until April 30, 2012, at which time it will become mandatory. This is to allow parties time to adapt to the change.

"Efiling in Oakland County began with a single circuit judge's civil docket and has since been expanded to the entire civil docket, comprising more than 7,000 new civil cases annually, and to certain probate and family division cases," said Chief Circuit Judge Nanci J. Grant. "Growing this program demonstrates the commitment by the Circuit and Probate Courts to make access to the judicial system more convenient and less costly for litigants and lawyers."

Additional assistance with the technical aspects of eFiling is now available in the new E-Services Center opened by Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Bill Bullard Jr. The E-Services Center is located on the ground floor of the courthouse in the space that previously housed the Elections Division. Users will have access to a computer and scanner, as well as technical support, to eFile their documents.

Published: Thu, Oct 27, 2011

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