Court clerk’s offices that support electronic filing of case documents save time and effort while reducing the likelihood of processing errors. Support for e-filing can sharply reduce the daily traffic of case participants coming into court to file documents in person, and the need to provide counter service for those parties. Reducing the influx of paper documents also means less time spent processing and sorting papers, less need for storage space, and less chance of document loss or mis-filing.
With e-filing increasingly widespread among U.S. court systems, a de facto industry standard for technical implementation has emerged in the form of the OASIS Electronic Court Filing (ECF) specification. The ECF standard complies with the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), an outgrowth of the Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM). The ECF 4.0 specification defines an end-to-end e-filing solution consisting of one or more e-Filing Service Provider (EFSP) components, an e-Filing Manager (EFM) component, and an electronic Case Management System (CMS) component, with standardized message exchange among the several components. Common implementations of the EFSP and EFM pieces include:
- A court uses an EFSP and EFM solution from a single vendor.
- A court develops its own EFM system and uses that together with a vendor’s EFSP.
- A court develops both an EFSP and an EFM.
In any of these common implementation scenarios, what’s needed is an electronic case management system that integrates with the e-Filing Manager in compliance with the ECF 4.0 specification.
Forecourt ECF Adapter: Compliant, Vendor-Neutral E-Filing Integration
Forecourt® ECF Adapter provides standards-compliant integration between the Forecourt Case Management System and an ECF-based e-Filing Manager and e-Filing Service Provider. The Forecourt ECF Adapter complies fully with the ECF 4.0 standard, enabling the Forecourt CMS to fulfill its ECF-defined role within the e-filing messaging flow (for example, by supporting Record Filing requests initiated by the e-Filing Manager). Because the Forecourt ECF Adapter complies with the open ECF and NIEM standards, it enables you to avoid vendor lock-in on the rest of your e-filing system. For example, if you currently use a compliant EFSP/EFM combination from a particular vendor, and down the road you want to switch to a compliant system from a different vendor, the Forecourt ECF Adapter will continue to provide seamless integration between your EFSP/EFM system and the Forecourt Case Management System.
Once integrated into an e-filing system by the ECF Adapter, the Forecourt Case Management System can perform back-end e-filing functions including:
- Integration of document information into case dockets.
- Tracking of filing fees collected, if fee collection is supported by your EFPS.
- Tracking of electronically served papers, if serving is supported by your EFPS.
- Integration with a document management system.
- Providing web-based public access to filed case documents, if you use the Forecourt ePublish module along with the Forecourt CMS.
- Document storage and retrieval.
Contact us today to learn more about how ECF integration can benefit your courthouse.