Virginia: proposal for e-filing system for District Courts killed in committee; modified bill passed House yesterday

A plan to require the Virginia District Courts to create an electronic filing system was recently killed in a House committee. HB 64 as introduced provided the state court administrator’s office (in Virginia called the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court) “shall establish an electronic filing system for use in the general district courts.” The bill also provided judges or clerks of the general district courts were to transmit to the appellate court all documents required on appeal in electronic form.

The Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court shall establish an electronic filing system for use in the general district courts. The judge or clerk of a general district court shall provide to the appropriate clerk of any appellate court the original warrant or warrants or other notices or pleadings with the judgment endorsed thereon, together with all pleadings, exhibits, and other papers filed in the trial of the case, in electronic form. The clerk of the appellate court shall accept the official civil or criminal record in electronic form as otherwise required by law.

As amended in committee and ultimately passed by the House yesterday 99-0, any mention of a required electronic filing system was deleted. Discussion of electronic transmission of case documents to the appellate court was also heavily modified.

Upon agreement between the chief judge of the general district court and the clerk of the appellate court, the case papers shall be transmitted to the appellate court by an electronic method approved by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court, with the exception of any exhibit that cannot be electronically transmitted. In the jurisdictions where an agreement pursuant to this section is in effect for the electronic submission of case papers to the appellate court, the appellate court may transmit the case papers back to the general district court by electronic submission where the case is to be returned to the general district court under applicable law. Electronic case papers, whether originating in electronic form or converted to electronic form, shall constitute the official record of the case. Such electronic case papers shall also fulfill any statutory requirement requiring an original, original paper, paper, record, document, facsimile, memorandum, exhibit, certification, or transcript if such electronic case papers are in an electronic form approved by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court.

HB 64 now goes to the Senate.