EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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September 8, 2013

N.H. prepares for electronic court filing

Electronic jury selection starts tomorrow


That also means court hearings will be scheduled sooner, she said. Documents could be filed on any day at any time — even if the court is closed, she said.

The electronic filing of small-claims cases will begin at circuit courts in Concord and Plymouth by year’s end, Apicelli said.

This trial run is expected to last about four months and culminate with electronic filing at all other circuit courts by spring, she said. That includes courts in Salem, Derry and Plaistow.

It’s just one of 18 phases of the project to be implemented by June 2016.

“It’s going to be much more accurate,” Apicelli said of the small-claims filing.

About 15,000 of those cases are filed every year.

Lawyers praise e-Court

Although in its infancy, e-Court is receiving praise from attorneys across the state, including New Hampshire Bar Association president Jaye Rancourt.

She said electronic filing will be beneficial to members of her profession. The association represents approximately 7,000 attorneys.

“While it will be an adjustment for some,” she said, “in the long run, attorneys will find it beneficial.”

The public will be benefit as well, Rancourt said.

“You could file it late at night — you don’t have to worry about putting it in the mail,” she said.

Some attorneys said electronic filing at the state level is long overdue, especially since it’s been done in federal courts for years, including U.S. District Court in Concord.

“E-filing is so much easier and so much efficient,” Salem attorney Patrick Donovan said. “I think it’s a marvelous idea. It’s something we’ve been waiting to happen for a while.”

E-Court was proposed several years ago, but its development was delayed because of limited state funding. But lawmakers agreed earlier this year to more than double the percentage of court fees to be spent on e-Court. That amount has been increased from 14 percent to 30 percent.

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