Last Thursday Oakland County Clerk Bill Bullard Jr. opened the new “E-Services Center” to better assist the public with online activities from legal filings to genealogy searches and give enhanced access to public records.
The Clerk’s Office administers the records and filings in Oakland County Circuit Court. This new center will focus on providing technical assistance to members of the public who need to electronically file (eFile) or search for electronic legal documents—both for attorneys and those representing themselves.
The new “E-Services Center” will also allow citizens to search Circuit Court records for free. Citizens will have expanded access to search full documents and only pay for the copies of documents they need. Desks and computer kiosks will be available to make this research more accessible.
“Our goal is to continue to use technology to save the taxpayers money, to provide greater assistance to citizens who have e-filing cases, give better access to public records, and make the system more user friendly to everyone,” Bullard said.
The Circuit Court now requires that many cases be filed using a system called “eFiling.” eFiling has saved Oakland County taxpayers over a million dollars in recent years. It has also allowed the courts and clerks to work more efficiently at less cost. Records that once took days to become available are now viewable by the concerned parties in minutes, making the court system more efficient, transparent, and accessible.
The Court Explorer records search system is available for free use in the E-Services Center, and staff will be available for assistance with using it.
The main services the new E-Services Center will be offering include:
• E-filing of legal documents.
• E-filing support provided for both attorneys and for persons representing themselves.
• User-friendly space to view court documents through Court Explorer at no cost.
• Copy orders.
• Genealogy searches.
• Expanded work space and computers for parties to fill out forms.
The new E-Services Center is located in the space that once housed the Elections Division, next to the Clerk’s Vital Records counters. The Election Division has relocated into new space in the West Wing of the county courthouse, where the Prosecutor’s Office is also located.
The E-Services Center is the latest use of technology from Bullard to make the Clerk/Register of Deeds Office more accessible and government more accountable to the taxpayer. His Open Oakland transparency project made county board minutes available online back to the founding of the board in 1970, along with many other county documents; Clerk’s Mobile Offices take Clerk/Register of Deeds services out to local communities at least once per month; and very soon the Register of Deeds will be implementing an automated entry book which will mean valuable real estate documents can be scanned in immediately and not left with the office, speeding up transactions and saving the taxpayer thousands of dollars in postage.
“The bottom line is, we want as many people to be online as possible so that they don’t have to be in line,” Bullard said.
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