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Florida Courts to Require Service of Pleading and Documents by Email

July 2, 2012

On June 21, 2012, the Supreme Court of Florida issued a corrected opinion adopting the new Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516 (Service of Pleadings and Documents) and amending all corresponding rules of Judicial Administration, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, Probate, Traffic Court, Small Claims, Juvenile Procedure, Appellate Procedure and Family Law to reflect this new rule. The new rule provides mandatory email service of all pleadings and documents, and will apply to all Florida cases.

Effective dates are as follows:

  • On September 1, 2012, the rule will be mandatory for attorneys practicing in the civil, probate, small claims and family law divisions of the trial courts and appellate cases.
  • On October 1, 2013, attorneys practicing in the criminal, traffic and juvenile divisions of the trial court will have to give service by email in accordance with the rule.

 

The new rule reflects the Florida judiciary’s longstanding efforts to increase overall efficiency in the court system, improve case management and reduce overall costs, as well as provide better accessibility to non-confidential information in the courts. As far back as 1979, the courts have used some form of electronic transmission of documents, and have continually published opinions and enacted statutory amendments to reflect the changing times. More recently, in an effort to transition to a fully electronic court system, the Florida Legislature enacted Florida Stat. § 28.22205 (2011), requiring “statewide standards for electronic filing.” The Supreme Court stated that “the timing for the implementation of mandatory e-filing should be coordinated with the timing for mandatory email service.”

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