A little more than 10 years ago, attorneys, Clerks, and individuals representing themselves in court cases relied solely on paper filings. A paper system allowed only one person at a time to view a file, which often created backups in the system. Additionally, filing had to be done in-person at a Clerk’s office and during business hours. Filers would submit their documents into a basket on the front desk, leaving filings unsecured and out in the open for anyone to view. For those filing by mail (or who lived too far to file in-person), the postage fees could be excessive, particularly for larger court filings which might include up to 50 or more pages of pertinent documentation.
The paper-based process was time-consuming, expensive, and in need of modernization. At the direction of the Florida Legislature and working within the standards established by the Florida Supreme Court, Florida’s Clerks began developing a statewide e-filing system. That system became known as the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, governed by a body of all Florida’s 67 elected Clerks of the Court and the Florida Supreme Court clerk, who represents Florida’s appellate courts.
In 2010, FCCC, the Florida Supreme Court, and The Florida Bar each donated $20,000 to cover initial expenses to establish a governing body for the program – the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority. The E-Filing Authority contracts with FCCC to develop, manage, and staff the E-Filing Portal.
In 2013, the Supreme Court of Florida mandated that all attorneys e-file civil case documents, and the directive to e-file criminal cases followed a year later. Over the past 10 years, the E-Filing Portal has grown in usage and continues to increase efficiency for Clerks, judges, attorneys, and many other users who interact with the court system.
Recently, the E-Filing Portal experienced an uptick in new civil case volume, with more than 280,000 new cases filed during the month of March 2023.