David Yates Dec. 3, 2013, 10:56am

A simple click of a mouse button will now locate filings at the Harris County District Clerk’s Office.

On Nov. 25 the office announced that changes were made to comply with the mandated e-filing system, doing away with the old way of stacking troves of ever-expanding lawsuits in storage areas. 

“My office favors electronic filing,” said District Clerk Chris Daniel in a press release. “It saves money on paper, printing and storage costs. Overall, it makes for a more efficient, modern court system.”

According to the press release, the state’s current e-filing system, Texas Online, closed in Harris County at 11:59 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29.

“The aim is to have a government that makes sense — and saves cents,” Daniel said.

Lawyers who wish to submit civil and family documents electronically to the District Clerk’s Office must file via TexFile now.

A state Supreme Court mandate, issued in December 2012, requires that lawyer-submitted civil and family documents must be sent electronically to the District Clerk’s Office starting Jan. 1, 2014.

The state hired Tyler Technologies to create a new electronic submissions system, which the Plano-based company calls TexFile, the press release states.

The District Clerk’s Office began accepting submissions via TexFile Nov. 18, but continued to accept submissions via Texas Online.

Non-lawyers representing themselves in court may still file paper documents after Jan. 1.

The press release says that some counties will meet only the letter of the mandate, printing electronic documents and putting them in paper files – an approach that didn’t make sense to the District Clerk’s Office.

“An office that follows this method gives up much of the cost savings from going electronic,” the press release states.

“Harris County Commissioners Court, the county Justice Executive Board and the District Clerk’s Office decided to exceed the mandate and set up a system that achieves efficiency and cost savings. All civil and family documents will be stored electronically, and there will be no more paper from lawyers in these courts.”

For those wishing to learn more, on the TexFile’s site there is an FAQ section and also a link with basic information on the e-filing mandate.

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