JACKSON — Hinds Circuit Court and Hinds County Court will begin accepting voluntary electronic filing of court documents in civil cases Oct. 1, according to an order signed this week by Senior Circuit Judge Tomie Green.
E-filing will become mandatory Nov. 1 in civil cases.
Clay County Chancery Court also will begin voluntary e-filing Oct. 1. The Clay County Circuit Court implemented mandatory e-filing Aug. 1.
Montgomery County Chancery Court began voluntary e-filing Sept. 16.
Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. said, “The addition of Hinds Circuit and County Courts to the Mississippi Electronic Courts system marks a milestone in our efforts to implement a unified, statewide e-filing system for the judiciary. The state’s most populous county, the home of our capital city and the seat of state government, is an essential component of a unified records system.”
With the addition of Hinds Circuit and County Courts to the MEC system, e-filing will be utilized in 20 courts in 12 counties. Several more counties are expected to be ready to e-file in the near future, said MEC Director Lisa Counts.
The Mississippi Electronic Courts program, under the supervision of the Mississippi Supreme Court, is adapted from the electronic filing system used in federal district courts. Judges and attorneys may file and view documents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Chief Justice Waller said that he looks forward to Rankin Circuit and County Courts implementing e-filing by January 2014. That will make e-filing available across the metro Jackson area. Madison County was the first MEC pilot project county. E-filing was implemented in Madison Chancery Court in 2009 and in civil cases in Madison Circuit and County Courts in 2010.
“Almost 50 percent of the lawyers in this state live in Hinds, Rankin or Madison counties,” Chief Justice Waller said.
E-filing trial court jurisdictions currently include the Clay County Circuit Court and Chancery Courts in DeSoto, Grenada, Hinds, Holmes, Montgomery, Rankin, Webster and Yazoo counties. In Madison, Harrison and Warren counties, all trial courts – Chancery, Circuit and County Courts – use e-filing.
The Mississippi Supreme Court and Court of Appeals began accepting voluntary electronic filing of briefs and motions July 1. The Supreme Court Clerk’s office has received more than 900 electronic filings since July 1, said Clerk of Courts Kathy Gillis. E-filing will become mandatory for briefs and motions in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Jan. 1, 2014.
More than 3,500 attorneys — nearly half of the approximately 7,200 attorneys in the state — are registered to use the MEC system. Also, more than 1,300 non-attorneys are currently registered to use the system to access court records.