WSR 07-09-019

RULES OF COURT

STATE SUPREME COURT


[ April 5, 2007 ]

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF THE AMENDMENTS TO GR 30 )

)

ORDER

NO. 25700-A-870

The Judicial Information System Committee having recommended the adoption of the proposed amendments to GR 30, and the Court having approved the proposed amendments for publication;

Now, therefore, it is hereby

ORDERED:

(a) That pursuant to the provisions of GR 9(g), the proposed amendments as attached hereto are to be published for comment in the Washington Reports, Washington Register, Washington State Bar Association and Office of the Administrator for the Court's websites expeditiously.

(b) The purpose statement as required by GR 9(e), is published solely for the information of the Bench, Bar and other interested parties.

(c) Comments are to be submitted to the Clerk of the Supreme Court by either U.S. Mail or Internet E-Mail by no later than 60 days from the published date. Comments may be sent to the following addresses: P.O. Box 40929, Olympia, Washington 98504-0929, or Camilla.Faulk@courts.wa.gov. Comments submitted by e-mail message must be limited to 1500 words.

DATED at Olympia, Washington this 5th day of April, 2007.

For the Court

Gerry L. Alexander

CHIEF JUSTICE


GR 30

Purpose: The Judicial Information Systems Committee (JISC) is proposing amendments to GR 30, Electronic Filing of Court Records. This rule became effective September 30, 2003. Since that time, the legal community has had the opportunity to implement this rule and several stakeholders have made suggestions and comments regarding possible amendments to GR 30 that would increase participation in electronic filing. Electronic filing and court records moved to the forefront in many of our courts due to the positive experiences users were having in federal court and the desire of the law enforcement community to electronically file citations, warrants, and certifications for probable cause. However, without the suggested amendments it is believed that few court users will take advantage of electronic filing in Washington State.

These suggested amendments simplify the ability of court users to electronically file while addressing concerns regarding proper authentication of electronic documents.

The following changes to GR 30 are being proposed:

Definitions - Section (a)1

Digital signature is defined using the statutory definition. (See proposed GR (a)(1).)
Definition of "filer" was added to the definition section. (See proposed GR (a)(5).)
Electronic filing authorization, exception. Service, and technology equipment - Section (b)

Requires filer or parties who agree to e-filing to provide their email address and to have a mailbox sufficient to receive electronic transmissions of court documents. (See proposed GR 30 (b)(3).)
Removes statement that electronic filing is voluntary. The proposed rule permits local courts to require attorneys (but not self-represented litigants) to electronically file. The work group felt that the revision would encourage attorneys to participate in electronic filing and protect a local court's authority to make e-filing mandatory.
The United States District Court Western District now has mandatory electronic filing for attorneys. Ms Shirley Lindberg (retired as of August 2006) manager of the Court's electronic filing project addressed the work group and shared the success of their e-filing project because of the mandatory requirement. She reported that while almost every attorney who files in their court now prefers electronic filing, it wasn't until electronic filing was mandatory that the majority of attorneys began using it. She said more than one attorney commented, "I wouldn't have tried it unless you made me. Now I wouldn't go back." Modeled after the federal rule, this proposed amendment allows for an attorney to opt out of electronic filing if good cause is shown. The rule preserves and addresses the policy concern that electronic filing should not serve as a barrier to court access. (See GR 30 (b)(5).)
Time of Filing, Confirmation, and Rejection - Section (c)

If a document is rejected for failing to comply with applicable electronic filing requirements, the clerk must state the reason for the rejection. (See GR 30 (c)(3).)
Authentication of Electronic Documents - Section (d)

The requirement that the filer obtain a password and personal identification number from either the Administrative Office of the Courts or the clerk is removed. Instead, the filer must apply for and receive a user ID and password from the electronic filing service provider and file the document using the user ID and password. This will simplify the authorization process. The filer may also authorize another person to use his or her user ID and password thereby allowing paralegals and others to electronically file documents at the request of others. Similar electronic filing procedures are used in the United States District Court - Western District of Washington. (See GR 30 (d)(1)(A-C).)
Any electronic document requiring the signature of an attorney may be signed with a digital signature or the manner set forth in GR 30 (d)(2)(A).
Any electronic document requiring a signature of a non-attorney and not signed under penalty of perjury may be signed by either digital signature or in the manner described in GR 30 (d)(2)(B).
A non-attorney signature that is made under penalty of perjury must either have a digital signature or be scanned with original document maintained by the filer for the duration of the case. (See GR 30 (d)(2)(C).)
An arresting or citing officer may sign citations and notice of infractions by using his or her user ID and password. This allows officers to electronically file traffic tickets from their vehicles and addresses the concerns of the eTickets project. (See GR 30 (d)(2)(D).)
Documents that contain multiple signatures must be scanned unless the document contains digital signatures of all the signers or, for documents not signed under penalty of perjury, the signing attorney or judicial officer has the express authority to sign for another attorney or party and represents so in the document. The filer is required to maintain the document if any of the signatures are of non-attorneys. (See GR 30 (d)(2)(E).)
Signatures on electronic signature pads (such as UPS uses) are accepted as long as authorized and facilitated by the court. (See GR 30 (d)(2)(F).)
1 Please note that the numbering of the sections of the rule was changed to make it consistent with the other court rules. For example, what is referenced as "GR 30.1" has been changed to GR 30(a).


[SUGGESTED AMENDMENTS]

GR 30

ELECTRONIC FILING


GR 30.1(a) Definitions.

(a1) "Digital signature" is defined in RCW 19.34.020.

(b2) "Electronic Filing" is the electronic transmission of information to a court or clerk for case processing.

(c3) "Electronic Document" is an electronic version of information traditionally filed in paper form, except for documents filed by facsimile which are addressed in GR 17. An electronic document has the same legal effect as a paper document.

(4) "Electronic Filing Technical Standards" are those standards, not inconsistent with this rule, adopted by the Judicial Information System Committee to implement electronic filing.

(5) "Filer" is the person whose user ID and password are used to file an electronic document.


Comment

The form of "digital signature" that is acceptable is not limited to the procedure defined by chapter 19.34 RCW, but may include other equivalently reliable forms of authentication as adopted by local court rule or general order.


GR 30.2 (b) Electronic filing authorization, exception, service, and technology equipment.


(a1) The clerk may accept for filing an electronic document that complies with the Court Rules and the Electronic Filing Technical Standards.

(b2) A document that is required by law to be filed in non-electronic media may not be electronically filed.


Comment

Certain documents are required by law to be filed in non-electronic media. Examples are original wills, certified records of proceedings for purposes of appeal, negotiable instruments, and documents of foreign governments under official seal.

(c3) Electronic Transmission from the Court. The clerk may electronically transmit notices, orders, or other documents to the party filing a party who has filed-electronically, and to any other person who agrees or has agreed to accept electronic documents from the court, and has provided the clerk the address of the party's electronic mailbox. It is the responsibility of the filing or agreeing party to maintain an electronic mailbox sufficient to receive electronic transmissions of notices, orders, and other documents.

(d4) Electronic Service by Parties. Parties may electronically serve documents on other parties of record only by agreement.

(e5) Electronic filing is voluntary. An attorney, party, court, or clerk is not required to accept or file electronic documents. A court may adopt a local rule that mandates electronic filing by attorneys; provided that the local rule is not inconsistent with this Rule and the Electronic Filing Technical Standards, and that the local rule permits paper filing upon a showing of good cause. Electronic filing should not serve as a barrier to access.


GR 30.3 An electronic document has the same legal effect as a paper document.


GR 30.4 (c) Time of Filing, Confirmation, and Rejection.

(a1) An electronic document is filed when it is received by the clerk's designated computer during the clerk's business hours; otherwise the document is considered filed at the beginning of the next business day.

(b2) The clerk shall issue confirmation to the filing party that an electronic document has been received.

(c3) The clerk may reject a document that fails to comply with the court's applicable electronic filing requirements. The clerk must notify the filing party of the rejection and the reason therefor.

GR 30.5 (d) Authentication of Electronic Documents.

(a1) Procedures

(A) A person seeking to file filing or authenticate an electronic document must have first apply either to the Administrative Office of the Courts or a clerk, approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts for a password and personal identification number. applied for and received a user ID and password from the applicable electronic filing service provider.


Comment

The committee encourages local clerks and courts to develop a protocol for uniform statewide single user ID's and passwords.

(B) All electronic documents must be filed by using the user ID and password of the filer.

(C) A filer is responsible for all documents filed with his or her user ID and password. No one shall use the filer's user ID and password without the authorization of the filer.

(b) All electronic documents must be filed using the password and personal identification number authorized in subsection (a). An electronic document is presumed to have been signed and authorized when the filer uses the authorized password and personal identification number to file the electronic document. The password and personal identification number cannot be used by, or on behalf of, anyone other than the person to whom it is assigned.

(2) Signatures

(A) Attorney signatures - An electronic document which requires an attorney's signature may be signed with a digital signature or signed in the following manner:


s/ John Attorney

State Bar Number 12345

ABC Law Firm

123 South Fifth Avenue

Seattle, WA 98104

Telephone: (206) 123-4567

Fax: (206) 123-4567

E-mail: John.Attorney@lawfirm.com


(B) Non-attorney signatures - An electronic document which requires a non-attorney's signature and is not signed under penalty of perjury may be signed with a digital signature or signed in the following manner:


s/ John Citizen

123 South Fifth Avenue

Seattle, WA 98104

Telephone: (206) 123-4567

Fax: (206) 123-4567

E-mail: John.Citizen@email.com


(C) Non-Attorney signatures on documents signed under penalty of perjury - Except as set forth in (d)(2)(D) of this rule, if the original document requires the signature of a non-attorney signed under penalty of perjury, the filer must either:

(i) Scan and electronically file the entire document, including the signature page with the signature, and maintain the original signed paper document for the duration of the case, including any period of appeal, plus sixty (60) days thereafter; or

(ii) Ensure the electronic document has the digital signature of the signer.

(D) Arresting or citing officer signatures on citations and notices of infraction filed electronically in courts of limited jurisdiction - A citation or notice of infraction initiated by an arresting or citing officer as defined in IRLJ 1.2(j) and in accordance with CrRLJ 2.1 or IRLJ 2.1 and 2.2 is presumed to have been signed when the arresting or citing officer uses his or her user id and password to electronically file the citation or notice of infraction.

(E) Multiple signatures - If the original document requires multiple signatures, the filer shall scan and electronically file the entire document, including the signature page with the signatures, unless:

(i) The electronic document contains the digital signatures of all signers; or

(ii) For a document that is not signed under penalty of perjury, the signator has the express authority to sign for an attorney or party and represents having that authority in the document.

If any of the non-digital signatures are of non-attorneys, the filer shall maintain the original signed paper document for the duration of the case, including any period of appeal, plus sixty (60) days thereafter.

(F) Court Facilitated Electronically Captured Signatures - An electronic document that requires a signature may be signed using electronic signature pad equipment that has been authorized and facilitated by the court. This document may be electronically filed as long as the electronic document contains the electronic captured signature.

(c) A document that is required by law to be executed under penalty of perjury must be electronically authenticated by the affiant/declarant using the affiant/declarant's password and personal identification number authorized in subsection (a). All electronic documents signed under penalty of perjury must conform to the oath language requirements set forth in RCW 9A.72.085 and GR 13.

(d3) An electronic document filed in accordance with this rule shall bind the Signatory signer and function as the Signatory's signer's signature for any purpose, including CR 11. An electronic document shall be deemed the equivalent of an original signed document if the filer has and the affiant/declarant have complied with this rule. All electronic documents signed under penalty of perjury must conform to the oath language requirements set forth in RCW 9A.72.085 and GR 13.


GR 30.6 (e) Filing fees, electronic filing fees.


(a1) The clerk is not required to accept electronic documents that require a fee. If the clerk does accept electronic documents that require a fee, the local courts must develop procedures for fee collection that comply with the payment and reconciliation standards established by the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Washington State Auditor.

(b2) Anyone entitled to waiver of non-electronic filing fees will not be charged electronic filing fees. The court or clerk shall establish an application and waiver process consistent with the application and waiver process used with respect to non-electronic filing and filing fees.

Reviser's note: The brackets and enclosed material in the text of the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Reviser's note: The typographical errors in the above material occurred in the copy filed by the State Supreme Court and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office