A paperless legal system?

January 23, 2013

Between contracts, briefs and other documents, lawyers and other members of the legal sector are constantly dealing with tremendous amounts of paper. But the Philippines Supreme Court has issued the Efficient Paper Rule last year, for all “courts and quasi-judicial bodies” to begin the transition in a paperless court system.

According to BusinessWorld, the rule, which went into effect at the beginning of 2013, allows pleadings to be submitted to the Supreme Court through email or on a CD and reduces the number of copies that can be filed by the courts. While voluntary now, in six months these changes will be required.

“After this six-month period, E-Filing (or the submission of pleadings by email or in a CD) with the Supreme Court will be compulsory, unless otherwise extended,” the news source explained. The reasoning behind the new paperless court system is not only to cut back on the costs of sending documents and making paper copies, but also to expand the Philippines’ use of technology. Compared to other countries, the news source explained that the Philippines is lagging behind when it comes to depending on technological applications, and stated that with this rule, other industries may be encouraged to become more digital or paperless.

Even with this requirement, however, some firms may have a harder time adjusting, especially in a sector known for being traditional and paper-heavy. But by abiding by the timeline and using bulk scanning services, legal offices can make the transition smoother and cut back on their need for paper resources.

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