Mandatory e-filing has come to the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District. The First Appellate District has announced that use of the Electronic Filing System (EFS) is mandatory for all attorneys and voluntary for self-represented litigants, per Local Rule 16. The filings in electronic format shall be in lieu of any paper copies otherwise required under California Rules of Court, and shall constitute the official record of the Court. The e-filing requirement applies to civil appeals, effective March 17, 2014, and criminal and juvenile appeals, effective April 14, 2014. At this time, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District is the only district that requires use of the EFS.
What does this mean for Attorneys that have Appeals in the First Appellate District?
In most cases, the work needed to prepare the appellate brief and appendix will remain about the same, as electronic submission of the brief and appendix is already required in this district. In some cases, more work may be needed to comply with the new requirements, depending on the type of documents to be included in the record on appeal.
Additional costs will be incurred as the rule requires attorneys to order, pay for and file with the Court an electronic version of any reporter’s transcript when filing the designation of record on appeal. Court reporters have additional fee requirements when electronic versions of the transcripts are ordered. It is unclear when the payment of the additional fee will be required for the electronic transcripts. The appellant’s attorney is required to file “a copy of the transcript in computer-readable format” with the Court.
Additional costs will also be incurred for electronic filing, as the private vendor that operates the system will charge fees for each filing. Currently, the EFS system appears to mirror the ECF system in the federal courts in many respects. Some specific provisions of the new EFS filing requirements will be covered in Part II of this article.
If you have any questions or need assistance with preparing and filing your appeal, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Counsel Press provides a full spectrum of appellate services. My colleagues at Counsel Press’ office in Los Angeles and I specialize in rule-compliant appellate filings (including electronic filings and electronic submissions) in the California Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.