Do You Know about E-filing?
Do You Know about E-filing?
  • 박주희 기자
  • 승인 2010.10.04 11:38
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Do You Know about E-filing?E-filing is a policy that has already been proven to be effective in many advanced countries. In Korea, it led to construction of the e-court in April of this year. It is not familiar to many of us yet, but it offers many advantages, such as being paper free, as well as saving time and money. These advantages have led to an increase in the usage rate of e-filing, but there are also many hidden aspects. In this transitional stage, we should familiarize ourselves and think how to best use it in our lives, as well as find solutions for the problems that exist.Mr. Poor is having difficulty in buying his new house because his present landlord hasn't returned his deposit yet. He decided to get the money back through a law suit, but the trial has not commenced for 2 years since the suit was first filed. This is because the landlord's address is not specific, so the landlord can't be served with papers. Mr. Poor is becoming more and more distressed because the day to pay the balance on his new house is approaching. However, the court continues to say, "Just wait."Ms. Fair answered the phone while reading a lawsuit record. One of the parties in the lawsuit had requeasted to read a document. She might have been able to figure out the case if she had an hour to examine the records, but she didn't have that kind of time. Although she wanted to ignore the request, she closed the record and sent it to the receipt room. She felt drained all of a sudden. Nothing was sinking into her head when she tried to understand all of the documents.The above examples are imaginary example that we can likely undergo if e-filing comes to effect.Through these examples we can know about several problems of original suit. One of the biggest problems with the traditional filing system is often a very long waiting period to file a suit. Second, it is an annoying attendance to court. These problems along with the large amount of paper that gets wasted, and the space that is required to store documents are just some of the reasons we need an e-filing system. What is E-filing? Most of all, we have to understand what e-filing is. It is a system that allows parties to submit documents through the Internet, and allows the court to deliver a ruling via the Internet as well. Almost all systems are based on computers. We can also receive text messages about the progress of suits that are filed on this system.If e-filing comes into effect, there will be many advantages. Most of all, the time and money required to store, produce, and deliver documents will be saved. Workers will be able to work more efficiently because they will be able to continue to work regardless of their office hours, so they will have extra time to focus on other concerns and projects. Also, the overall amount of time that a lawsuit requires could be made shorter because a great deal of the process can be done through the Internet. This will also free up court workers to complete other tasks. This will allow many Koreans to receive a higher quality of service when human interaction with a court worker is required. Here is an imaginary example that describes the advantages of e-filing.Recently, Mr. A, the CEO of a Korean traditional beverage company, made an effort to develop a new product. Eventually, he created an easier method for extracting juice from bamboo after five years, so he was busy because of preparing to market a new bamboo beverage through an advertising campaign, an exhibition, a contract, and a patent filing. He worked day and night. Above all, the most important thing was the patent filing to prevent pirating of the technology by other companies. However, he didn't have enough time to go to the court to submit documents for the patent filing, so he thought he would have to delegate his authority even though this was a bother because he wanted to make sure it was done properly and he wanted to do it himself. However, he didn't have to do that because the new e-filing system that was created made the process easier and more convenient. He was able to submit documents for the patent filing through the Internet, and he didn’t have to lose valuable work time. In addition to the benefits detailed above, we can also inquire about executive documents from home through the Internet without visiting public offices. These new benefits are possible due to the diffusion of the Internet, and the result of the government’s focus on providing busy citizens with more convenient services.E-filing Process 1) Connect to the e-filing site and create a user account and then you can file a suit.2) Login official certification.3) Fill in documents.4) Submit petitions and evidences. Registered users can submit an electronic petition. In this process, you have to convert paper documents to electronic documents. 5) Pay stamp fee and delivery fee. Payment can be made through the Internet. 6) Examine the documents sent by opponents.7) Plead. You can attach multimedia data.  Evidence, appraisers, psychologists, and commissioned agencies can be cited by the user. 8) Research electronic evidence.9) Sentence of judgment. After making e-documents, you must place your electronic signature. It is a system that verifies your identity through the Internet. This is required by law in order to convert an official paper document to an official e-document. If the original copy of the judgment is printed, it becomes binding. 10) Read and print your case record.11) Manage documents. You can read documents about your case anywhere as well as print them out whenever you like. Copies are free.Status of E-filing in Other Countries Many advanced countries have already implemented e-filing and its coverage has spread since the end of the 1990s. In the state of Colorado in the U.S.A. e-filing accounts for 97% of cases that are filed. Washington D.C. had an 85% e-filing rate as of 2005. However, in New York, the percentage of e-filing use is only 10% because only a few counties have established e-filing systems. Singapore was the first country to implement e-filing in Asia. Since then, coverage has expanded to include civil cases as well as family cases. E-filing now accounts for 86% of all filed cases. In the U.K., they have “Money Claim Online” as part of civil cases. E-filing in Korea In Korea, e-filing came into effect later compared to other countries. In 1986, the first steps toward an e-filing system started with “Distribution networks and the expansion and promotion of the law.” Since then the Internet has spread throughout Korea, and the e-signature law and the framework act on electronic commerce was enacted in 1999. Identity and e-documents can be confirmed through the Internet. Commercial transactions and banking through the Internet has spread because Internet transactions have been made legally binding. In 2001, the Supreme Court constructed a master plan for the implementation of an e-court, and e-filing came into effect since this court was established nine years ago. Patent litigation was impacted immediately, and the range of e-filing will be expanded according to system construction steps such as civil suits, administration, and bankruptcy. Now, e-filing use is on the rise. The court received 32 cases from a total of 86; this accounted for 37.3% of the total filed cases; a month after e-filing was adopted. Last June, the e-filing use rate was 38%, or 65 cases from a total of 168, and 1,146 people created e-filing user accounts. This means that on average 19 people create e-filing user accounts every day. We have looked at the advantages of the e-filing system, but there are also many problems. For example, the biggest advantage is that it is a paper free system, but this can also be a problem because many people are unfamiliar with using electronic documents, so they still use paper the same as always. All records are being converted to electronic documents. This has resulted in all electronic documents having to be printed in order to read them. Another problem is the formatting of the electronic documents. They must be PDF files because they can be saved in large capacity, so the case files have to be changed from HWP or DOC to PDF, which means its contents can’t be edited. We can download converter programs to change documents in the e-filing site, but this demands a dual process. There is also a problem with issuing official certifications. Nowadays, many people use official certifications for Internet banking, but some people do not know much about these systems, and they still have to visit the public office to have them issued. There are also situations that lead to the sharing of passwords. Each case has a different password, and the lawyer in charge of the cases knows them. However, the company in charge of the overall management is in charge of dealing with case files, so all members of the company also know the passwords for the cases. There are also the inevitable issues that arise whenever computers are involved like viruses and hacking.The problem of increased use of printed paper is of particular concern. However, this is a problem that is caused by unfamiliarity during the transition period. If many people adapt to the e-document system, paper documents will become obsolete. The judiciary should construct a smooth running infrastructure as well as advertise and educate about e-filing to citizens to make it a routine part of our lives. In the case of document formatting problems, the judiciary is investigating a solution, and it is called tagging. Tagging uses XML document types and adds explanations to the document. Some courts in other countries are already using this method. The Adobe Company, developed the PDF file type, and they expect that it will be used more often in the future, so the process is receiving a great deal of attention now.In the future, e-filing will undergo many changes. It will be extended from patent cases to civil cases by May of next year. After that, it could be used to streamline administrative, bankruptcy, and family case filings. The Supreme Court has a plan for execution of non-contentious cases that will come into effect in 2013. An establishment of the e-court is one of the main purposes of e-filing.Advice from an Expert YNO sought some advice on e-filing from the College of Law Prof. Gil-Yong Jung at YU. He said "We can regard e-filing as electronic case files. E-filing has two competing aspects, economic efficiency and riskiness. The submission of the case documents and the process of identification both can be conducted indirectly, so there can be a loss of clarity. It can also break the open trial rule. The open trial rule means that cases should be observed by a third party in good faith. In other words, the possibility of trial justice can be decreased. A solution could be video on trial, but this is also not efficient because of the lack of actual contact between all parties. E-filing came into effect to solve many of the traditional problems associated with filing suits, but it has created new issues. E-filing is going through a transition period. Therefore, it requires the construction of many more systems and supplements." E-filing has affected the construction of an e-court. If the e-court is vitalized, we will be able to take legal action, and be given notice of the results in our homes just like telecommuting. However, as detailed above, there are many problems, such as the current increase in the use of paper, converting document formats, issuing official certification, and document passwords. We have to understand that all policies have problems in their transition periods. When it comes to the increasing rate of e-filing, the government should address these weaknesses, and we can begin a solid e-court era beginning with e-filing.

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