Supreme Court votes unanimously in support of mandatory eFiling rule

Madison, Wisconsin - February 24, 2016

The Wisconsin Supreme Court voted unanimously in favor of a rule that will begin the process of transitioning Wisconsin’s circuit courts from a largely paper-based record-keeping system to an electronic filing (eFiling) system.

The mandatory eFiling rule (Wis. Stat. § 801.18) will take effect July 1, 2016, pending Court review and approval of final rule language. As proposed, mandatory eFiling will be implemented first in select pilot counties that already offer voluntary eFiling in civil, family, small claims, and paternity cases. The program will then expand in those case types to other counties statewide by the end of 2017. Other case types will be added as court system resources allow, with a target completion date for mandatory eFiling in all case types statewide by December 31, 2019.

An electronic filing fee of $20 per party per case would fund the program as proposed, said Director of State Courts J. Denis Moran. The fee would be waived for indigent parties and for governmental units, such as district attorneys, public defenders, child support agencies, the state Department of Justice, and county and municipal attorneys, Moran said.

In addition to many written submissions, circuit court officials from Dodge, Fond du Lac, Jefferson, and Milwaukee counties, including judges and clerks of circuit court, testified in support of Rule Petition 14-03 during a public hearing held before the vote. The officials said eFiling is more convenient and efficient than paper filing for both litigants and circuit courts.

Rule Petition 14-03 was first filed with the Supreme Court by the Committee of Chief Judges on Oct. 31, 2014, and an initial hearing was held on March 17, 2015. At that time, members of the Court expressed concern about granting the petition without knowing how it would be funded, and no action was taken. Following an amended petition and today’s hearing, the project will move forward.

The court system asked for $2.1 million in its 2015-17 state budget request to build the eFiling system, but funding was not included in the executive budget submitted to the Legislature.

Tom Sheehan
Court Information Officer
(608) 261-6640

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