The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Utah Judicial Council recently approved a new rule that requires mandatory electronic filing in all Utah state civil cases beginning April 1, 2013. The new rule, Rule 4-503 of the Code of Judicial Administration, also requires electronic filing in probate cases beginning on July 1, 2013. Mandatory e-filing has been around in federal courts for a few years, but states are just beginning to require e-filing. Utah has had a voluntary e-filing system for some time, but a mandatory system will certainly be a change. Overall this will be a good change for our current students as they will graduate into a world where e-filing is the norm.
E-filing is also a benefit to legal researchers as pleadings and other court documents become more easily accessible. In the past, these types of documents could only be accessed at the courthouse. When they are electronically filed, these documents can be uploaded to XChange, the Utah courts’ docketing system, and made available on the web to anyone with an XChange password. Eventually the change to mandatory e-filing will allow XChange to become more like the federal governments’ PACER system, which has become an invaluable legal research tool.