As many of you may know, there are two cycles related to amendments to California statutes and local rule updates for each year: January 1 and July 1.
At these times each year, California Rules of Court are subject to change, as well as court rules at a county level, although not every county makes updates every cycle.
We’ve rounded up the most relevant changes to rules of court at the state and county levels (where applicable), to help you update your law firm on important new procedures.
While this information is current and comprehensive to our knowledge, lawyers and their staff, as a best practice, should review in detail any local rules in the court of jurisdiction (including those listed below) in which they are filing.
We have focused here on changes that are likely to have a direct effect on filing documents in some way.
California Rules of Court and C.C.P. 1010.6 changes
The main goal of the state rule changes this year centered around cutting out redundancy and simplifying procedures by modernizing the existing, antiquated rules and statutes.
Here are the main things you need to know:
#1 New eFiling & eService deadlines
Current Rule 2.250(b)(10) has a “close of business” definition which has meant that eFiled documents that are submitted after the court stops accepting documents at its counter are deemed filed the following business day. Under the amended statute, C.C.P. 1010.6(b)(3), documents eFiled between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. are deemed filed that same day.
Our filing experts here at One Legal have been busy speaking with CA eFiling courts over the last several weeks to determine if they were aware of the change and to confirm how they plan to address it.
We’ll be updating our website and eFiling platform to reflect those conversations with individual courts. While the majority of counties have responded, we’re still waiting to hear from a few. Until we receive confirmation that courts will be adhering to the new deadlines, we will keep deadlines the same, to ensure your filing is not rejected for being late.
You can stay updated on what your court is doing by checking on our list of eFiling court deadlines in California. Once you’ve started your eFiling, look to the right sidebar within the eFiling platform to check your court’s confirmed deadline.
C.C.P. 1010.6(a)(5) has been amended to mirror sub-section (b)(3) and allow for eService until 11:59 p.m. as well.
#2 Images of signatures not required and eSignatures eventually permitted
Current rule 2.257 has been interpreted by some courts as requiring an image of a wet-ink signature on documents signed under penalty of perjury. This update eliminates that confusion with some clarifying language and specifically allows for electronic signatures on those documents, once the Judicial Council promulgates those guidelines (it has until 12-31-18).
#3 Definition of a document
After clarifying updates, the definition of a document will include “notice, order, judgment, or other issuance by the court.” Rule 2.250(b)(1) and (2) were also amended to include “other person” within the definition of a document.
#4 Additional provisions for electronic service required by court order
The updated rules add a new subdivision (d) to Rule 2.251 concerning electronic service by court order. Read more about this change by reviewing the entire amendment.
#5 Electronic submission of fee waiver application
Rule 2.252(f) will be amended to require courts to allow applications for fee waivers to be filed electronically. This mirrors C.C.P. 1010.6(b)(6).
#6 Clarification regarding eService addresses
The updated rule 2.256(a)(4) will include a limitation that reads: “This applies only when the electronic filer has consented to or is required to accept electronic service.” Because self-represented litigants (SRL’s) are exempt from the “consent to eService clause” of rule 2.251(b)(1)(B) they do not have to provide an eService address like most other filers do. The amended rule clarifies which eFilers have to furnish an eService address.
County rule changes
Not all counties chose to make changes to their rules this cycle, so we rounded up the ones that did.
Here’s what you need to know:
Rule 1.9 was amended and removed the Alameda courthouse from locations in which CV and FL case types can be filed.
Rule 4.1.13(B) was added to allow for eFiling of charging documents (e.g. complaints) in criminal cases. Sub-section (C) was amended to change “requests” to “requires” as it relates to PDF searchable and bookmarked documents submitted electronically.
Rule 2.11 was deleted and in so doing the requirement for providing courtesy copies for motions has been removed.
Rules 3.1, 3.6 and 3.8 have been added.
- New Rule 3.1 modifies the existing “file anywhere” rule to one that requires filing the case initiation in the proper venue first then filing subsequent documents anywhere, with some exceptions (see 3.1(a)(2) and (c)(2)).
- New rule 3.6 adds a requirement to provide courtesy copies on any motions or orders. There is an option to provide copies via email or Dropbox.
- New rule 3.8 adds a drop box in Ukiah.
Rule 2(e), requiring courtesy copies of any motion filed in the Law & Motion Dept., will be deleted. The “invitation to comment” link is no longer visible, however.
Rule 3.3 will be modified to require courtesy copies of all eFiled documents over fifteen (15) pages.
Rule 1800, Electronic Filing, will be simplified to point filers to C.C.P. 1010.6 and C.R.C. 2.250 et. seq. for eFiling requirements. Rule 1810, Electronic Filing Participation will be deleted and “reserved.” Basically, the court is getting ready to address eFiling, with CV case types expected to go-live in 2020.
Family Law Rule 5.1.2 bill be added in order to define what an imaged case is in Family Law. Rule 5.1.9 will require, among other things, noting “IMAGED FILE” under the case number. This in preparation for the court going live with eFiling in FL case types, which as of the latest update, will be later in 2018. (Note: this date is an estimation only.)
That’s all for rule changes until mid-2018. Happy filing, folks!