FAQs For AttorneysIn addition to these general questions and answers concerning the project, there are additional FAQs for the Public. Maryland Rules can be found here.
Is e-filing mandatory?
E-filing for attorneys is mandatory if you are filing in a county that has been converted to the new MDEC system (See Rule 20-106).
How do I know the effective date of the county implementations?
Rule 20-102 will be updated or you can check back with this website.
What will be done with cases that were initially filed in paper form? Will we continue to use paper until those cases have been closed? Will the efiling start on a particular day and after that day, all new case submissions be electronic?
Closed or inactive case files will most likely not be converted to electronic format, or will be converted on an as-needed basis (most likely due to being reopened or some other demand). These files will be retained and managed according to current retention schedules.
Is e-filing mandatory?
E-filing for attorneys is mandatory if you are filing in a county that has been converted to the new MDEC system. Self-represented litigants may voluntarily choose to e-file (See Rule 20-106). It is also planned that paper filings will be scanned and maintained electronically from Day 1. E-filing will become effective as each county is implemented.
Is the Judiciary considering charging those who don't e-file, a charge for not using the system?
How will the system work with the Public Information Act if someone wants to see an electronic record/case?
Case search will continue to provide online access to case information. However, availability and access to these records will be subject to security and privacy considerations.
Will the notification system relieve the Court of notifying attorneys of their need to respond to a motion?
The notification functionality within MDEC will notify attorneys of hearing dates. The system will not prompt the attorney to file motions or responses.
How do you foresee a paper summons being served on a defendant? Would a sheriff still serve?
Documents can be electronically served, however any documents required by rule or statute to be served by a sheriff – will continue to be served by the sheriff.
What computer resources are required to e-file?
E-filing will require internet access and a word processor, such as Word or WordPerfect. A scanner can also be used. The Judiciary will provide multiple opportunities for the training of attorneys on use of the e-filing system.
What is the timeframe for the project?
The project will be rolled out on a county by county basis starting in the fall of 2014. It will take approximately five years to complete.
How will the new case management change the way different Courts communicate with each other?
The new case management system will provide a single solution for Appellate, Circuit and District Courts that will facilitate electronic communications of case information between the aforementioned court levels. For the first time, courts in different counties will communicate in the same system.
What type of access will be available for criminal records?
Access will be based on a number of factors: applicable Maryland Rules; present availability of electronic case information to the public; any agreements reached between the Judiciary and its criminal justice partners; identity or role of the entity making the inquiry (case party, attorney, general public, etc.) as determined by authentication and authorization rules.
Will transcripts still be available for appeals? Will transcripts and recordings be part of the Case Management System?
Transcripts will still be available for appeals. Transcripts and recordings will most likely remain with the various recording systems that are in use by the courts today.
Right now, if someone wants to review a case from two years ago, it would take the clerk a long period of time (days or weeks) to retrieve the record. Will the record be available electronically in the new system and even though the record would be aged, might the opportunity exist to pull it electronically?
It is unlikely that old case files will be scanned due to the relatively low demand for such cases and the cost associated with scanning and indexing all closed cases. However, previously filed documents, i.e., pending or reopened, will be scanned and made electronic at the discretion of the courts (See Rule 20-102).
How would an attorney sign a motion?
Documents electronically filed shall indicate a typographical signature, e.g., “/s/ Jan Doe,” or a facsimile signature, i.e., a scanned image. The filing party or attorney shall retain the physical copy of the document containing the original signatures until the action is concluded. The electronic filed document must include a signature block that contains the following typed information about the filing user:
- “/s/” typed in the space where the signature would otherwise appear
- Firm name if applicable
- Firm address
- E-mail address
- Telephone number
How does the private processor receive the service document? Will it be in a paper format?
Private processors will continue to receive paper documentation as they do today.
Is the Judiciary interfacing with the various sheriffs’ offices?
Several local courts currently exchange information with sheriffs’ offices. The Judiciary plans to keep those exchanges active from day one, as well as develop capabilities that will allow other sheriffs’ offices to retrieve data from the Judiciary as those offices build the capability to capture and manage that data.
Who is overseeing the project?
The project is being overseen by Chief Judge Barbera and the Judiciary's Technology Oversight Board. From a tactical perspective, the project is being managed by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
Will I be able to submit exhibits during trial?
Any exhibits or evidence submitted during a court hearing, and approved by the Judge, will be scanned as soon as feasible.
How are you planning to deal with redacting and confidentiality?
It is the responsibility of the filer to redact any information before filing. If the filer believes that restricted information is necessary to be included, the filer shall state the reason and legal basis for including the restricted information, and file both an unredacted version and redacted version of the document (See Rule 20-201). E-filing functionality exists to flag a document as confidential and therefore shielded from public view.
Will an attorney be able to remotely view a case file?
Attorneys in a case will be given full access including remote access to all case records in that action subject to protective orders (See Rule 20-109).
What are the reasons for rejecting a filing?
No signature, no certificate of service or no certificate of redaction.
What happens if the system goes down?
Courtrooms should not have system outages. The infrastructure of the system will be set up to redirect computers in the event of a system malfunction. E-filing outages may occur occasionally for maintenance (See Rule 20-501). The Judiciary will notify the public in advance via the Judiciary web site.