Proposed amendments to the Federal Rules regarding mandatory electronic filing

Posting Date: 
Monday, January 9, 2017
The Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States has drafted proposed changes to federal rules to make electronic filing mandatory in all districts.  


"Electronic filing has matured. Most districts have adopted local rules that require electronic filing, and allow reasonable exceptions as required by the former rule. The time has come to seize the advantages of electronic filing by making it mandatory in all districts, except for filings made by an individual not represented by an attorney. But exceptions continue to be available. Paper filing must be allowed for good cause. And a local rule may allow or require paper filing for other reasons." 

The Committee is soliciting comments on these proposed amendments, and all comments on these proposed amendments will be carefully considered by the advisory committees, which are composed of experienced trial and appellate lawyers, judges, and scholars. Any comments on the proposed amendments, whether favorable, adverse, or otherwise, should be submitted as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday, February 15, 2017.  All comments are made part of the official record and are available to the public. 

Comments concerning the proposed amendments must be submitted electronically by following the instructions at: 
http://www.uscourts.gov/rules-policies/proposed-amendments-published-public-comment

After the public comment period, the advisory committees will decide whether to submit the proposed amendments to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure. At this time, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure has not approved these proposed amendments, except to authorize their publication for comment. The proposed amendments have neither been submitted to nor considered by the Judicial Conference or the Supreme Court.

If approved, the proposed amendments would become effective on December 1, 2018, with or without revision, by the relevant advisory committee, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Judicial Conference, and the Supreme Court, and if Congress does not act to defer, modify, or reject them. 

The full text of the proposed amendments may be found here, but here is a summary of the proposed amendments regarding electronic filing and service:

Bankruptcy
Fed. R. Bank. P. 5005(a)(2)(A) FILING. Electronic Filing and Signing.  (A) By a Represented Entity—Generally Required; Exceptions.   
An entity represented by an attorney shall file electronically, unless non-electronic filing is allowed by the court for good cause or is allowed or required by local rule.
Civil
Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(b)(2)(E)  Service in General. 
A paper is served under this rule by:  sending it to a registered user by filing it with the court’s electronic-filing system or sending it by other electronic means if that the person consented to in writing—in either of which events service is complete upon transmission, filing or sending, but is not effective if the filer or sender learns that it did not reach the person to be served;

Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(d)(1)(B) Certificate. 
A certificate of service must be filed within a reasonable time after service, but a notice of electronic filing constitutes a  certificate of service on any person served by the court’s electronic-filing system.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(d)(3)(A) Electronic Filing, and Signing. By a Represented Person—Generally Required; Exceptions. 
A person represented by an attorney must file electronically, unless non-electronic filing is allowed by the court for good cause or is allowed or required by local rule.
Criminal
Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(a)(3)(A) Service by Electronic Means. Using the Court’s Electronic Filing System.
A party represented by an attorney may serve a paper on a registered user by filing it with the court’s electronic-filing system.  A party not represented by an attorney may do so only if allowed by court order or local rule. Service is complete upon filing, but is not effective if the serving party learns that it did not reach the person to be served. 

Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(a)(3)(B) Service by Electronic Means. Using Other Electronic Means. 
A paper may be served by any other electronic means that the person consented to in writing. Service is complete upon transmission, but is not effective if the serving party learns that it did not reach the person to be served.


Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(b)(3)(A) Means Used by Represented and Unrepresented Parties. Represented Party. 
A party represented by an attorney must file electronically, unless non-electronic filing is allowed by the court for good cause or is allowed or required by local rule.

 

"Electronic filing has matured. Most districts have adopted local rules that require electronic filing, and allow reasonable exceptions as required by the former rule. The time has come to seize the advantages of electronic filing by making it mandatory in all districts, except for filings made by an individual not represented by an attorney. But exceptions continue to be available. Paper filing must be allowed for good cause. And a local rule may allow or require paper filing for other reasons." data-share-imageurl="">