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District of Columbia Court of Appeals and CCE Publish Final Report on Public Access

The Remote Public Access to Electronic Court Records: A Cross-Jurisdictional Review for the D.C. Courts report, prepared by the Remote Access to Court Electronic Records (RACER) Committee of the Council for Court Excellence, identifies best practices from across the nation on public access to electronic court case files.

Completed at the request of former Chief Judge Eric Washington of the D.C. Court of Appeals, this report outlines practices intended to inform the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, which has recently implemented electronic filing.  Additionally, the report will help enhance public access to the D.C. Court of Appeals, which has begun gradually implementing an electronic case filing system on a voluntary basis which will augment the operation of its automated case-flow management system.

Included in the report are:

  • Key findings related to the following areas – scope of access; bulk data availability; privacy; governance structures; fees; maintenance; and usability;
  • Best practices related to each of the aforementioned areas;
  • Evaluation of other state court systems relative to each area, inclusive of policy considerations that the D.C.-based courts may face; and,
  • Appendices that delve deeper in to the other approaches adopted by states creating a public access legal framework.

State courts were surveyed to acquire the necessary benchmarking information and state court data regarding level of access to the public via online or in-house systems.  Overall, results continue to show a marked increase in jurisdictions utilizing technology to “e-file” and adopting a broad movement towards online access to court records.