February 1, 2011

Faster, less expensive, convenient and “green” filing of legal documents

Attorneys and litigants can now begin a variety of civil actions from the comfort and convenience of a home or office at any time of day by using the New York State Courts E-Filing (“NYSCEF”) system.  NYSCEF, which is available every day of the year, will allow County Clerk and court staff to maintain a paperless case file.

E-filing is available for tort, tax certiorari and general commercial cases, on a voluntary basis.  It will become mandatory for filers seeking assignment to the Commercial Division today, February 1st and for filers starting a tort action on March 1st.

“Electronic filing is a win for our customers as well as the taxpayers,” said Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni.  “Our customers do not have to spend time and money to travel to our White Plains office to start an action and the taxpayers benefit because it takes less time and fewer dollars to process an electronic filing.”  The Westchester County Clerk serves as the clerk of the courts.

“No longer will lawyers have to file in person or mail papers to the courthouse. No longer will court staff have to mail out pages of documents, which will now be sent electronically. And, no longer will lawyers have to wait what could be several days to receive written decisions, since they will be notified via e-mail as soon as the decision is made. E-filing saves time and money for the County Clerk, for the courts and for lawyers and their clients,” said Alan D. Scheinkman, Administrative Judge of the Ninth Judicial District.

Not only does the NYSCEF system facilitate the filing of documents, but it also provides access to all public documents filed in the case 24/7 and from any location with an internet connection. While filers need a computer with an internet connection and a scanner, there are no fees other than usual filing fees which can be paid by credit card online.  NYSCEF training classes are offered twice a week through the County Clerk’s Office and require advance registration by calling (914) 995-3082. In addition, classes are offered twice a week by The E-Filing Resource Center in Manhattan and require advance registration by calling (646) 386-3033.  Classes are also being offered through various local bar associations.

The expansion of electronic filing in Westchester is the result of collaboration among the New York State Office of Court Administration, the Administrative Judge of the Ninth Judicial District, the Westchester County Clerk and the Westchester County Department of Information Technology.  The expansion follows the recent upgrade of the NYSCEF system which facilitates not only filing of documents with the County Clerk and court, but also electronic service of these documents upon consenting parties.

For more information about NYSCEF, visit www.nycourts.gov/efile.