Christmas Picture.jpgWhile it feels like August in Georgia, for appellate practitioners it may feel a little like it is Christmas. Today, the Supreme Court of Georgia has begun accepting briefs through its new e-filing system.

From today forward, lawyers who are in good standing and members of the State Bar of Georgia and the the Supreme Court of Georgia may file a brief and other pleadings before the court by uploading them to the Supreme Court e-filing website as a PDF. While the Georgia Court of Appeals has allowed e-filing for several months now, the Supreme Court will allow a wider range of filings than the Court of Appeals currently supports.

Beyond the Supreme Court’s website, several news have filed stores on e-filing. Bill Rankin, with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution used twitter to announce it. Jan Skutch with the Savannah Morning News ran a story about it. WLTZ News has covered it. My friends over at the SCOG Blog have a good post where they have registered and tried it out. Of Course, the Supreme Court’s own website has extensive coverage.

Among the types of filings that may be submitted the filing system our briefs on cases that are currently pending before the court, applications for interlocutory appeal, applications for discretionary appeal, and petitions for certiorari.

For those unfamiliar with E-filing, the Court has included several instructional videos to tell you how to do things such as register for the following with the Supreme Court, how to submit your first brief, and how to submit various petitions for matters that are not currently docketed before the court. If you have filed electronically in the Georgia Court of Appeals, you will find that the user interface here looks familiar.

I have already registered with the system and find that many of my filings are available to be reviewed. I wrote an article in the most recent issue of the appellate law section’s newsletter, the Appellate Review that discusses the filing in the Georgia Court of Appeals, and I am sure that the section will have a forthcoming article on the Supreme Court’s new move.

Chief Justice Hunstein is very excited about the development. She said today “What we’re talking about here is a revolutionary change that is a win-win situation for the Court and for the litigants,”. She added, “The parties will save time and money by no longer having to print, copy and deliver paper documents. No more fighting Atlanta traffic to get those documents into our Clerk’s office by the 4:30 filing deadline.”

Today’s announcement from the court will make several people happy, including lawyers, legal secretaries, court personnel, and many others who deal with the Supreme Court on a regular basis. No doubt, this system will make several people unhappy including Blumberg, copier suppliers, the United States Postal Service – particularly my old friends whom I used to see at the Hapeville post office at midnight (the last post office in the state you can file things up to midnight). The fact that those people will be unhappy actually makes the even happier.

In the long run, this new system will save me money as every time have ever had to file a brief with the Supreme Court of Georgia, it has been necessary to prepare an original and seven copies to mail out.