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Appellate eFiling becomes mandatory on Thursday

Appellate eFiling becomes mandatory on Thursday

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Electronic filing in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals will become mandatory on Thursday.

As of July 1, all new cases and documents in pending cases must be filed through the appellate eFiling system, according to the Court of Appeals website. Attorneys with pending cases will be automatically opted in by Thursday.

Appellate eFiling, associated rule changes start July 1

eFiling allows attorneys to file documents in the Court of Appeals without having to arrange delivery or travel to the clerk’s office in Madison. The appellate eFiling system has the same look and feel as the circuit court eFiling system. Attorneys will use the same log-in information to access appellate eFiling, and they can toggle between the two systems.

In April, the Wisconsin Supreme Court approved a rule petition to make e-filing mandatory in the appellate courts starting on July 1. The order also made a number of changes to the Rules of Appellate Procedure, Wis. Stat. Ch. 809, including these revisions highlighted by the appellate courts:

  • The notice of appeal, docketing statement and statement on transcript are served electronically using the circuit court eFiling system.
  • Duplicate filings in the circuit courts and Court of Appeals are eliminated.
  • The record on appeal will use the circuit-court document numbers.
  • Printing and service of briefs and appendices are eliminated, except for copies served on self-represented parties.
  • Current requirements for document appearance are updated (See page 48 of the state Supreme Court order).
  • The certifications for briefs and appendices may be electronically signed as a single document.
  • Electronic briefs may include bookmarks and hyperlinks for the convenience of the court.
  • There is no additional eFiling fee for appellate eFiling.

Court of Appeals ‘realizing benefits’ of eFiling

Appellate e-filing began as a pilot program in District IV in 2019. Since then, the office of the Clerk of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, and CCAP have worked with judges, attorneys and other court staff to develop and refine the eFiling process and procedures.

In a press release on Friday, Chief Justice Annette Ziegler said the switch to eFiling at the appellate level is a result of the court system’s commitment to increasing convenience and efficiency for attorneys and the courts. The trial courts have been realizing the benefits of e-filing for years, Ziegler said, and now the appellate courts are beginning to take advantage of those benefits.

Supreme Court to launch eFiling for select cases on July 1

The state Supreme Court is next in line to realize those benefits. On July 1, the high court will launch an eFiling pilot program on a select set of cases by invitation. A June 15 order said some proceedings will be included in this pilot project, while documents in other proceedings will continue to be filed on paper and served by traditional methods. No date has been set for mandatory eFiling in the Supreme Court.

Interim rules adopted by the state Supreme Court, listed in Appendix A of the June 15 order, provide directions for filing paper documents in the state Supreme Court until eFiling becomes mandatory.

Since 2009, attorneys have been required to eFile a copy of briefs and petitions for review with the Supreme Court, in addition to filing and serving multiple paper copies. Attorneys who are not participating in the Supreme Court testing phase should continue to file these electronic copies.

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