Senate Passes Groundbreaking Legislation To Modernize New York's Court System

Eric T. Schneiderman

August 06, 2009

ALBANY -- Bringing innovation to New York's court system, the Senate passed a bill today that makes permanent the successful e-filing program. The legislation, S.6003, sponsored by Sen. Eric T. Schneiderman (D-Manhattan/Bronx), modernizes the court filing process by allowing more civil cases to be filed electronically.

The legislation is supported by the Chief Administrative Judge of New York State Ann Pfau.

"E-filing is a fair, efficient and cost-cutting program that works. This legislation extends a successful program that eliminates paperwork and reduces processing time -- it brings New York's courts into the 21st century," said Senator Schneiderman. "There's absolutely no reason not to continue e-filing."

The e-filing program began in 1999, allowing the electronic filing of court papers, or e-filing, in only a small number of cases and in a limited number of courts. Over the last ten years, the program has expanded to include new classes of cases and venues statewide. By May 2009, 360,000 documents and 160,000 cases had been filed through the system.

"E-filing is a common sense program that makes our courts more accessible and user-friendly. Thanks to this legislation, more court papers can be filed online saving New Yorkers valuable time and money that would be spent going to the court house to submit documents -- or to look them up," added Senator Schneiderman.

The Senate's latest action allows the state's Chief Administrative Judge to permit e-filing statewide in Supreme Court, Surrogate's Court and the Court of Claims. E-filing would remain voluntary so even if someone doesn't have access to the Internet they would not be barred from court.

The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.