Electronic Filing Now Available in Georgia Court of Appeals

The Fulton County Daily Report announces that after years of planning for e-filing, the Georgia Court of Appeals is now accepting briefs electronically. Chief Judge M. Yvette Miller said that other types of electronic filing, such as motions and requests for extensions, could be accepted by the end of the month, but a complete e-filing system will take more time to implement.

"I love it," said appellate attorney S. Cindy Wang, who filed the first electronic brief. "It's been hugely convenient."

By e-filing, attorneys can save time and money. Wang said that she didn't have to make extra copies of the briefs or worry about finding parking at the courthouse.

"I'm excited that my late-night trips to Hapeville to get that late-night postmark are going to be over," said McDonough attorney J. Scott Key. He often has to drive to a post office in Hapeville that's open late in order to file briefs. He believes that the e-filing system will save him thousands of dollars a year once it's in place. Key is disappointed that he can't e-file an application for interlocutory appeal right now, but he's excited about the promise of e-filing.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Northern District of Georgia, plus many Fulton State Court and some Fulton County Superior Court cases, require e-filing. The Georgia state Supreme Court also has plans for an e-filing system.

TriVir, based in Fairfax, VA, developed the e-filing system for the Court of Appeals. TriVir received $150,000 to develop the system. The court is currently seeking more money from legislators so that they can complete the e-filing implementation project.

"I'm just going to insist that they invest in our citizens and this court," said Judge Miller. She hopes that the court can begin putting its own opinions online by the middle of the year and that lawyers will be able to do more e-filing by the end of the year. "I'm really working hard so they can begin the appeal and end it online."

For now, attorneys have to pay a $5 convenience charge (on top of the standard filing fees) to file a brief electronically. They must first register with the court's e-filing system; they must be a member of the State Bar of Georgia in good standing and be sworn in to the state Court of Appeals. So far, over 150 lawyers have registered for e-filing, and approximately 50 briefs have been electronically filed. At this point, e-filing is not required in the Court of Appeals.

"We're encouraging it, and it's probably going to be our preference," said Judge Miller.

Do you have an opinion about e-filing in Georgia? Will it make your life easier? Has it already made your life easier? Have you encountered any problems with e-filing? We'd like to hear from you.

MLN Law specializes in Georgia personal injury lawsuits. For more information, call MLN Law at 404-531-9700.