The Wisconsin Court of Appeals District III will begin to accept all documents by eFiling on Aug. 3.
The voluntary eFiling pilot program will start in District III, which serves the northern half of Wisconsin. Attorneys can use their existing eCourts accounts to file new cases or to opt into pending cases to file new documents. Court officials said appellate eFiling will rely on the same technology and user interface as does circuit court eFiling.
The Court of Appeals and Wisconsin Supreme Court already use the appellate eFiling website to file briefs and appendices in the two courts. The extension will allow the filing and service of all documents in appellate proceedings.
Case types available for eFiling include civil and criminal appeals, no-merit appeals, pre-appeal motions, writs, and discretionary appeals filed in the Court of Appeals.
Parties filing a notice of appeal should still file in circuit court. The notice of appeal should clearly request that the case being filed is intended to be part of the voluntary eFiling pilot program. Court officials recommend stating the request in bold.
The eFiling program eliminates the need to file multiple copies of paper briefs and the use of colored covers. Respondents who receive a notice of appeal and parties on existing cases can opt into eFiling by sending a fax or mail request to the office of the Clerk of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. The $20 eFiling fee is currently waived.
The appellate eFiling website has phone and online chat features to assist with questions, and the website will be kept up to date with guidance materials.
The state Supreme Court authorized the appellate eFiling pilot project in 2019. Courts have tested eFiling with a small number of cases throughout the state, but District III will be the first district to allow appellate eFiling for general use.
The Court of Appeals plans to extend the pilot program to District II two to four weeks after Aug. 3. Districts IV and I are scheduled to offer eFiling in the months to follow.
A committee of judges and practitioners is drafting a permanent rule to guide appellate eFiling. The rule is expected to make appellate eFiling mandatory for attorneys on July 1, 2021, and voluntary for self-represented parties. The draft rule will be available for review and comment later this year.
Parties with questions may get in touch with Clerk of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Sheila T. Reiff at 608-266-1880 or at [email protected].