The Electronic Filing System (EFS) is a revolutionary, integrated, national network, which offers the following four services to meet the evolving needs of civil litigation:
The EFS is part of the Supreme Court's case management strategy. The automated case tracking and monitoring features of the system allow for more pro-active supervision of cases so that the life span of cases can be shortened and the number of outstanding cases reduced.
Please see the guidelines to application of EFS services.
Traditionally, court documents were filed manually over the court registry counter in paper form. This was done by court clerks engaged by law firms to make daily trips to the registry. With the inception of the Electronic Filing Service in 2000, lawyers can now file court documents electronically over the Internet front-end web-based system at their convenience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Billing information provided to law firms by the system can be integrated with their in-house accounting system for greater efficiency and accuracy in the management of client accounts.
Presently over 84% of documents are filed in court electronically by more than 400 law firms via the web-based system. More than 2.5 million court documents have been electronically filed to-date. On average, 2,000 documents are processed electronically daily. Law firms or litigants-in-person who do not have the requisite computer facilities can file documents at the LawNet Service Bureau located on the first level of the Supreme Court Building, which will process paper documents and assist in the electronic filing of the documents upon the payment of a manual handling fee.
The Electronic Extract Service allows law firms to request for the extraction of copies of the cause papers from the Courts electronically or via the Service Bureau. The service is offered in two ways:
- Conduct of searches on the index of documents filed for a case:
An on-line enquiry is available for law firms to browse the index of documents.
- Extraction of electronic copies of documents:
The system allows law firms to submit the extract request electronically to the Courts for approval. Once approval is granted, lawyers will be able to browse and print the documents that are received electronically from the Court.
The Electronic Service of Documents Facility allows law firms to serve court documents electronically over the Internet to one or more law firms concurrently with the click of the mouse. The documents to be served are "mailed" electronically to the other law firm, in the same way that documents are "mailed" electronically to the Courts under the Electronic Filing Service. Documents which are served using the Electronic Service of Documents Facility are deemed to be effectively served in compliance with Order 63A Rule 12 of the Rules of Court. A certificate of service is automatically generated by the system. This certificate can be filed in court in lieu of the affidavit of service as evidence of service. The service facility is not only more convenient for the lawyers but also leads to savings in manpower costs as despatch clerks need not be hired to go from place to place to serve court documents personally.
One of the newest features of the EFS is the "One click File-n-Serve", which was launched on 10 January 2005. This feature allows law firms to file documents with the Courts and serve the same documents on the other parties in the action with just one click of the mouse button. This reduces the number of steps which law firms were previously required to undertake in order to file and serve documents.
The Electronic Information Service allows law firms and members of the public to perform online search queries on the Courts' database through LawNet. Information can be obtained on all classes of actions in the courts.