Texas Supreme Court advisory

Contact: Osler McCarthy, staff attorney for public information
512.463.1441 or click for email

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In an order posted Tuesday the Texas Supreme Court established procedures for now-required electronic copies of most pleadings filed with the Court.

The order specifies that these electronic copies of filings must be in PDF (portable document format) and must be searchable by text. All filings must be on paper. Electronic submission of copies will not constitute filing with the Court. The rules for Court filings remain unchanged.

Because of their greater size, scans of the original documents will not be accepted. Documents created in most recent word-processing programs and in OpenOffice.org’s most recent free Open Office software have one-step PDF conversion capabilities.

“The electronic copies do not have to be signed, but the substance of the copies must be the same as the paper filing. We want attorneys to avoid using scanned copies as much as possible, so no signature is required on the electronic copy,” Clerk of the Court Blake Hawthorne said. “The Court has for years requested electronic copies in just those cases in which the Court requested briefs on the merits. This new order now also requires electronic copies of all petitions, responses and replies in all cases for the convenience of the Court, attorneys and the public.”

In one section the order it leaves to attorneys responsibility for redacting sensitive or confidential information and refers attorneys, paralegals and administrative staff to guidelines to assure redaction from PDF copies. The order provides a list of information that should be eliminated from the electronic copies.

Read the order here.