“Potentially the greatest part of this is it reduces the cost so much,” says David Slayton, administrative director of the Texas Office of Court Administration, who announced the news Friday at a meeting of the Texas Judicial Council.
Yesterday, OCA signed an agreement with Dallas-based Tyler Technologies for its Odyssey File and Serve system, which will replace the current statewide e-filing system at Texas.gov in September 2013.
The new TexFile online portal will allow lawyers and litigants to pay to file court documents electronically, says Slayton. However, anyone who visits participating court clerks’ offices will be able to use TexFile kiosks to file documents for free, Slayton told the Texas Judicial Council. Filings will also be free for government lawyers and district attorneys.
Slayton says people using the current e-filing system pay a per-document fee ranging from $13.50 to $31.50. But TexFile’s online portal will instead charge a per-transaction fee — people may file multiple documents in one transaction — ranging from $7 to $27, depending upon the e-filing service provider and options that a filer chooses, he says.
TexFile will host an online document-viewing service for any interested county that doesn’t currently place court documents online for the public. Counties that already provide online document access may continue using their own systems, and TexFile will refer people searching for documents to those local systems.
“It’s a good convenience to the public,” Slayton says.
At the meeting, the Texas Judicial Council unanimously approved a resolution to ask the Texas Legislature to create a “court technology fee” in civil and criminal cases to pay for “a newly procured eFiling system,” and to appropriate the money to OCA to “provide for eFiling at no additional per transaction charge to litigants,” says the resolution.
-- Angela Morris