The Texas Supreme Court issued two sets of orders today related to e-filing of appellate briefs in Texas.
Effective March 14, 2011: In the Texas Supreme Court, parties now have a choice whether to make a traditional paper filing plus an e-brief, or whether instead to choose electronic filing through an approved provider and then submit just two copies (for most briefs). The acceptable format of an e-brief remains largely unchanged from before. For now, the e-filing is voluntary. (( If you go the traditional route, the e-brief is due the same day as the paper briefs are filed. If you go the e-filing route, your paper copies can be submitted the next day. )) You can get the order about SCOTX filings here.
In the courts of appeals, the Court has now brought standardization to what just a few weeks ago I noted was a quite confusing situation. Through an amendment to the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, there is now a standard local rule for courts of appeals to adopt if they want to accept courtesy e-briefs or to opt into the statewide e-filing system. You can get the order amending the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure & setting out these form local rules here.
There may be a transition period as courts of appeals decide how they want to ease out of their own practices into these new local rules. (( Normally, courts of appeals must submit new local rules for formal approval by the Supreme Court. I assume that is also necessary if a court of appeals wants to adopt one of these form rules. )) But the new rules will make sorting things out much easier. Going forward, if a court of appeals accepts e-briefs, then you must prepare it in the same manner that you would for the Texas Supreme Court.
I’m sure that I will have more to say about these rules over time. For now, I just wanted to pass along the news.