Electronic access to civil court files

Thanks to Judge Barton, The San Diego Superior Court has made a significant effort to provide electronic access to civil court files for both litigants and attorneys who no longer have to go to the courthouse to review file documents.

Court users can now submit cases electronically to the court and the court files directly with the chosen vendor.  This reduces costs for both the public and the court by eliminating the need for physically transporting documents to court, the need for court staff to manually enter data, and the need to store paper documents.

Mandatory E-Filing involves the following type of cases:

  1. Complex cases
  2. Construction defects

Non-mandatory E-Filing involves the following type of cases:

  1. All civil cases that are neither complex;  nor, construction defects

Please carefully evaluate the pros and cons of E-Filings vs. Traditional Filing.

Traditional Filing: Civil Court Files diagram-civil1

 Pros:  Personalized service such as auditing documents for potential errors, face-to-face interaction with the Courtroom clerk to inquire, identify and receive said documents, ability to nudge clerks to prioritize urgent matters and act as a mediator between Legal Secretaries and the Court Clerk.

Cons: Paper backlog.


 Pros: No more waiting for a messenger to arrive.

Cons: No personal contact; therefore, no personalized service.  Should there be a potential error and should the document be rejected, it will need to be re-submitted and an additional fee will be incurred.  No one will be available to intervene on your behalf with the clerk.  Once you are integrated into the E-Filing system, you must remain an E-Filer; there is no turning back.

The Superior Court of California, San Diego County has published the following notice regarding upcoming changes to its E-Filing procedures:


These requirements are issued pursuant to California Rules of Court (“CRC”), rules 2.250 et seq., Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6, and  San Diego Superior Court  General Order:  In re  Procedures Regarding Electronically Imaged Court Records, Electronic Filing, and Access to Electronic Court Records.


Effective January 7, 2013, (Electronic Filing Soft Launch General Order – January 3, 2013)

registered users of the Provider’s service can initiate new cases in case types as designated by the San Diego Superior Court, and all parties may E-File subsequent pleadings in those cases as well.  Contact the Provider to determine what case types are authorized for E-Filing of this type.

Effective March 4, 2013, (Revised Electronic Filing Requirements of the San Diego Superior Court – January 8, 2013)

documents  may be filed electronically in non-mandated civil cases  in the Central Division where either:  (1) the case is first initiated on or after March 4, 2013; or (2)  the case is already pending as of March 3, 2013 and has been imaged by the court. 


The case types that shall be subject to mandatory E-Filing are: civil class actions, consolidated actions, coordinated actions, and actions that are provisionally complex under CRC 3.400-3.403 (as  set forth in the Civil Cover Sheet,  Judicial Council form CM-010  – but not including construction defect actions). “Complex cases” included in mandatory filing include Antitrust/Trade  Regulation, Mass Tort, Environmental/Toxic Tort, and Securities Litigation cases, as well as insurance coverage claims arising from these case types.  Construction defect cases, currently being filed through the LexisNexis website, will continue to be filed through that system until further notice.

This message is only a reminder and a way to facilitate access to necessary information.

Please click on Leave a comment and share your point of view.


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