Lately, there has been an explosion of court documents being rejected from filing. Reasons for rejection are numerous. There is almost no discernible pattern. Reasons include, but are not limited to:
- failure to provide a back page,
- submitting documents separately when they should be combined,
- failing to have a witness to an electronic signature (not to be confused with a commissioned document),
- a form is missing,
- information is missing on the form,
- disapproving of the affiant’s signature, and so forth.
It is speculated that the change in staffing at the courts is the cause for the increase in rejections. (E.g. experienced staff leaving and new staff entering.)
What is the solution?
One solution is abolishing the need for approval of documents. Just letting everything in or letting the judge decide at the hearing.
Another solution, which I recommend, is integrating the requirements for filing into the design process. The software should contain a checklist that all litigants need to complete before they hit file online. This checklist should address the common reasons for rejection for that type of document. Thereby reducing the number of wrongly filed material.
Lastly, the list of reasons for rejection should be made public. Litigants should know exactly what court staff are looking for to reject the document. Rejections should become the exception, not the norm. Rejections should be made only in exceptional circumstances if the requirements under the Rules are met. Superficial deficiencies should not require a litigant to file something four or five times, with new reasons for rejection each time.