The Clerks’ office has received many questions from lawyers about the filing options available to lawyers, and in particular the bar’s ability to access in-person counter filing services. Lawyers are to use email filing and drop box options whenever possible. Now, more than ever, it is vitally important that the number of people in courthouses remain low given the current state of the pandemic.
The Clerks’ Office is not prohibiting lawyers absolutely from filing things at the counter, but in-person counter service should only be used for emergency matters which are highly time sensitive (needed today or tomorrow, for example).
If an item is urgent (needed today or tomorrow), clerks will file those documents at the counter upon the lawyer explaining the urgency and timing. We trust that lawyers are in the best position to assess the urgency of their matters. The clerks may, however, ask some questions further to this explanation to confirm the urgency.
If a court runner is filing the document at the counter, we request that a letter be provided by the lawyer that the runner may present confirming the urgency. This will help identify the individual documents that need to be prioritized and addressed right away amidst the many documents that a runner may be filing.
Dropbox service also processes urgent applications if a letter is provided by counsel outlining the nature of the urgency.
Through the Justice Digital Project, the Clerks’ Office is working on more permanent e-filing solutions. The first of these projects involving e-filing of certain surrogate applications is expected to be introduced in the upcoming new year.