Supreme Court a step closer to launching statewide E-filing

The Michigan Supreme Court today moved a step forward with a plan to help local courts implement technology to improve service to the public and increase efficiency.  The Court published a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking vendors to supply a statewide system that would allow the public to file cases electronically from anywhere at any time. The RFP also asked for vendors to make proposals regarding an electronic document management system so that courts could receive and manage e-filed documents.

“With e-filing, our goal is no more paper copies and no more waiting in line to file court documents,” said Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. “At the same time, e-filing will help courts more efficiently manage the flow of documents without the burden of millions of paper files.”

Courts in several large jurisdictions have successfully implemented e-filing, and their success has encouraged the Court to move ahead with a statewide plan. Benefits include:

For filers, the convenience of filing anytime and from anywhere plus substantial savings in resources that are no longer needed to copy and travel to a courthouse to file paper documents during business hours.

For courts, reduction in paper handling and storage costs as well as less staff time to manually enter data. E-filing will result in fewer data entry errors and more consistent filing practices across courts.

In 2015, an estimated 34.5 million documents were filed in Michigan courts statewide related to nearly 3.2 million cases. E-filing is made more complicated by our state’s decentralized system of 242 courts, 165 cities and counties that fund them, and 20 different systems courts use to store and manage case files. In addition, some jurisdictions have systems that allow for files to be stored electronically while others do not, so the new system must both provide for all jurisdictions to seamlessly connect to a statewide e-filing backbone and also integrate with case management and document management systems.

The statewide e-filing initiative is part of a broader strategic plan the Court is implementing to help trial courts improve service to the public and save money by using technology.  For example, videoconferencing increasingly facilitates the virtual transport of prisoners for routine court hearings.  By the end of 2016, every courtroom with a judge will be equipped to hold such virtual hearings that both save transport costs and increase security.  This year alone, the use of virtual transports is expected to save the Michigan Department of Corrections nearly $5 million. 

The RFP is available at and responses are due by 2 p.m. EST on October 25, 2016.  The system is expected to launch in 2017.