After much anticipation, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania looks to finally implement electronic filing in 2015. The PACFile system went online in 2012, and has been utilized by both the Supreme Court and Commonwealth Court for the past year. The Superior Court’s utilization of the system now makes it standard for appellate filings statewide. (The PACFile system is available via the United Judicial System of Pennsylvania’s (UJS) web portal at: https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/ attorneyservices.aspx.)
Overall, the PACFile system is seen by most as being both user-friendly and effective, and compares favorably with other state systems and the Circuit Courts’ ECF systems. Of particular note in utilizing PACFile are the following:
• An individualized user name and password is required. To create an account, go to https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/Login.aspx.
• For purposes of timeliness, filing is complete upon uploading the brief and reproduced record; hard copies are then due within seven days. In practical terms, this means an end to scrambling to hand-file the hard copies with the Court or having it post-marked under Pa. R.A.P. 121 and 2185.
• The 70-page limit on briefs has been removed. All principle briefs must contain no more than 14,000 words (7,000 for reply briefs), with 14-point as the new font size required. Although the Superior Court has yet to strictly enforce the new font size requirement, it has been one of the biggest reasons for deficiency brief letters being sent out by the Commonwealth Court.
The Superior Court’s implementation of the PACFile system is unlikely to drastically reduce the number of hard copies for either briefs or reproduced records. The required number of copies for the reproduced record was reduced from seven to four in October 2010. The number of briefs could see a slight reduction – to four or five – but is likely to remain steady after that. Though judges and justices are increasingly willing to read and work off of electronic versions of briefs, they – like people, in general – still prefer to have a hard copy on hand to read, highlight and mark up as they see fit.
All electronic filings, comprised of e-Briefs that are hyperlinked to the reproduced record, statutes and case law, remain an elusive goal at this time.
Please contact me with any questions regarding preparing and filing any appeal. Counsel Press provides a full spectrum of appellate services. My colleagues and I at our Philadelphia office specialize in rule-compliant appellate filings in the United States Court of Appeals for the First, Third and Fifth Circuits, Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the United States Supreme Court.
Read related articles:
Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure: What is the Purpose of the Docketing Statement?
Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure: A Look at Amendments Mandating Shorter Briefs
Tagged: Appellate Practice, Appellate Procedure, Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Court Technology, Litigation