Users shall provide any case management information needed to file documents. The electronic filing system shall reject a document for failure to include information in any one of the mandatory fields identified by the system.
Users shall format the appearance of all electronically filed documents in accordance with statutes and local rules governing formatting of paper documents, including page limits.
The electronic filing system may set limits on the length or number of documents. Leave of court may be granted for traditional filing and service in appropriate cases. If a document cannot be electronically filed due to the size limitations of the system, the user shall contact the clerk of court for assistance.
Electronically filed documents have the same force and effect as documents filed by traditional methods. The electronic version constitutes the official record. No paper copy of an electronically filed document shall be sent to the court.
The duties of the clerk of court under ss. 59.40
, and 851.73
, and all other statutes, court rules, and procedures may be fulfilled through proper management of electronic documents as provided in this section. The requirements of statutes and rules that refer to paper copies, originals, mailing, and other traditional methods may be satisfied by transmission of documents through the electronic filing system.
Subject to the schedule set by the director in sub. (2) (b)
, the clerk of court shall maintain the official court record only in electronic format for all cases commenced after that date. Documents filed by traditional methods shall be electronically imaged and made part of the official record. The clerk of court may discard the paper copy pursuant to SCR 72.03
(3). Any official court record containing electronically filed documents must meet the operational standards set by SCR 72.05
for electronic records.
If a document is filed in a case in closed status, the clerk of court shall file the document electronically and convert that case to electronic format within a reasonable time. If conversion of the case would be unusually burdensome, the clerk of court may maintain the record in paper format with the permission of the court.
The clerk of court shall make the public portions of the electronic record available for viewing at the clerk of court's office. The clerk of court shall make nonpublic portions of the electronic record available for viewing by authorized persons.
The clerk of court may provide either paper or electronic copies of pages from the court record. The clerk of court shall charge the per-page fee set by ss. 814.61 (10)
and 814.66 (1) (h)
for electronic court records.
Certified copies of an electronic record may be obtained from the clerk of court's office by traditional methods, as provided by s. 889.08
. The electronic system may also make available a process for electronic certification of the court record. The seal of the court may be applied electronically. No use of colored ink or an impressed seal is required.
Except as provided in par. (i)
, parties filing by traditional methods shall file a copy of any document and not the original paper document. The court may require the submitting party to produce the original paper document if authenticity of document is challenged. If the court inspects the original paper document, it shall be retained as an exhibit as provided in SCR 72.03
Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, a will deposited for safekeeping under s. 853.09
may not be electronically filed. The original paper will shall be deposited with the court.
Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, a person submitting a will to the court under s. 856.05
shall file the original paper will in the proper court. The register in probate shall image the will and create an electronic case file. The register in probate shall maintain the paper copy of a will in a separate file for the time period provided by SCR chapter 72
Documents may be submitted during a court proceeding by traditional methods. Documents submitted in court shall be imaged and the imaged copy entered into the court record by the clerk of court.
For documentary exhibits, parties shall submit a copy of the exhibit and not the original. The clerk of court shall image each documentary exhibit and enter the imaged document into the court record. Copies of documentary exhibits so imaged may be discarded as provided in SCR 72.03
(3). If inspection of the original document is necessary to the court proceeding, the court may order that the original document be produced. Any original document so produced shall be retained as an exhibit as provided in SCR 72.03
An administrative agency submitting a record for judicial review in compliance with s. 227.55
shall image the administrative record and submit the imaged copy electronically using a method provided by the electronic filing system. The electronic record shall be the official record in the circuit court. If inspection of an original document is necessary to the court proceeding, the court may order that the original document be produced.
Electronic placement of the court filing stamp and the case number on each copy of an initiating document constitutes authentication under the statutes and court rules. An authenticated copy may be printed from the case management system by the clerk of court or from the electronic filing system by the user.
Notaries public who hold valid appointments under ch. 140
may issue certificates of notarial acts for electronically filed documents as provided in this section.
Court officials authorized by law to perform notarial acts may do so by application of their electronic signatures provided through the electronic filing system.
Unless specifically required by statute or court rule, electronically filed documents are not required to be notarized.
Documents notarized by traditional methods may be filed through the electronic filing system if a handwritten signature and physical seal appear on the original document. The user shall submit an imaged copy of the notarized document to the electronic filing system, and the court shall maintain the imaged copy as the official court record. The court may require the submitting party to produce the original paper document if the authenticity of the notarization is in question.
An electronically filed complaint under ch. 799
may be verified by applying the electronic signature of the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney to a written oath attesting that the facts of the complaint are true, without swearing to the oath in front of a notarial officer.
The director, in his or her discretion, may approve the use of an electronic notary technology compatible with the existing electronic filing system.
To be considered electronically signed, a document must be submitted by or on behalf of a user through the electronic filing system. A document requiring the signature of a user shall bear either an electronic signature or a handwritten signature applied to a document before it is imaged. An electronic signature shall state “Electronically signed by" followed by the name of the signatory, and shall be placed where the person's signature would otherwise appear. Either form of signature shall be treated as the user's personal original signature for all purposes under the statutes and court rules.
A summons and complaint, petition, or other initiating document that is signed in compliance with par. (a)
bears a sufficient signature under s. 802.05
Each electronically filed document shall bear that person's name, mailing address, electronic mail address, telephone number, and state bar number if applicable. Users shall notify the electronic filing system of any change in this information, consistent with sub. (3) (d).
An attorney may delegate the authority to submit documents to the electronic filing system to a person under the attorney's supervision. Any document requiring the attorney's signature is deemed to have been signed by the attorney if submitted to the electronic filing system and signed as provided in par. (a)
. Every attorney is responsible for all documents so submitted.
Every attorney is responsible for electronically filed documents to the same extent as for paper filings. Attorneys using the electronic filing system are subject to sanctions under s. 802.05
and contempt procedures under ch. 785
, and are subject to discipline for a violation of any duty to the court under the supreme court rules.
Self-represented parties and filing agents under s. 799.06
are responsible for electronically filed documents to the same extent as for paper filings. Self-represented parties and filing agents using the electronic filing system are subject to sanctions under s. 802.05
and contempt procedures under ch. 785
Users may submit documents without electronic signatures in the following situations:
A joint petition in an action for divorce or legal separation may be electronically filed if it bears the handwritten signature of one party and the electronic signature of the other or the handwritten signatures of both parties.
A stipulation will be considered signed by multiple persons if it bears the handwritten signatures of all signatories or if it bears the printed name of each signatory and contains a representation by the filing party that the filing party has consulted with the signatories and all have agreed to sign the document. This subdivision does not apply to the signature requirements of s. 809.107 (2) (bm) 6.
, (5) (a)
, or (6) (f)
, where a signature is required from the appellant or petitioner, other than the state, on whose behalf the document is filed.
The court may agree to accept a document with the handwritten signature of a user and direct that it be made part of the electronic record by the clerk of court.
For paper parties, every document requiring a signature shall be signed using a handwritten signature. If a document requiring a signature is filed by traditional methods, the filing party shall file a copy of that document and not the original paper document, as provided under sub. (9)
Documents containing handwritten signatures of third parties, such as affidavits, may be filed through the electronic filing system if a handwritten signature appears on the original document. The user shall submit an imaged copy of the signed document to the electronic filing system, and the court shall maintain the imaged document as the official court record. The court may require the submitting party to produce the original paper document if validity of the signature is challenged.
The director, in his or her discretion, may approve the use of other signature technologies to the extent that they work with the existing electronic filing system.
If the signature of a court official is required on a document, an electronic signature applied through the court case management system may be used. The electronic signature shall be treated as the court official's personal original signature for all purposes under Wisconsin statutes and court rules. Where a handwritten signature would be located on a particular order, form, letter, or other document, the official's printed name shall be inserted.
The electronic signature of a court official shall be used only by the official to whom it is assigned and by such delegates as the official may authorize. The court official is responsible for any use of his or her electronic signature by an authorized delegate.
A court official may delegate the use of his or her electronic signature to an authorized staff member pursuant to the security procedures of the court case management system. Upon learning that the confidentiality of the electronic signature has been inadvertently or improperly disclosed, the court official shall immediately report that fact to the consolidated court automation programs. Court officials shall safeguard the security of their electronic signatures and exercise care in delegation.
The confidentiality of an electronic record is the same as for the equivalent paper record. The electronic filing system may permit access to confidential information only to the extent provided by law. No person in possession of a confidential electronic record, or an electronic or paper copy thereof, may release the information to any other person except as provided by law.
Parties shall comply with the requirements of ss. 801.19
regarding redaction of protected information, identification of confidential material, and sealing of filed documents.
If a document is confidential, it shall be identified as confidential by the submitting party when it is filed. The electronic filing system may require users to enter certain information, such as social security numbers, in confidential fields. The clerk of court is not required to review documents to determine if confidential information is contained within them.
If a user seeks court approval to seal a document, the user may electronically file the document under temporary seal pending court approval of the user's motion to seal.
If the clerk notes that a document has been identified as confidential or sealed, the electronic filing system shall place a visible mark on the document to identify it as confidential or sealed.
The original transcript of any proceeding produced under SCR 71.04
shall be electronically filed with the circuit court in accordance with procedures established by the director. This rule does not alter the requirements governing timelines, format or costs established by s. 814.69
, SCR 71.04
, or any other statutes, rules, and procedures.
The electronic filing system shall note that the transcript has been prepared and filed with the court. Upon receiving payment or making arrangements for payment, the court reporter shall indicate which users may have access to the electronic transcript. Access to an electronic copy of the transcript through the electronic filing system shall serve as a duplicate copy under s. 757.57 (5)
and SCR 71.04
(6). Upon the request of a user who is entitled to view the transcript, a single paper copy of the transcript shall be provided without additional charge. No user shall be granted access to view the transcript unless the court reporter has notified the system or the court has so ordered.
The court reporter shall notify any paper parties by traditional methods that the transcript has been prepared. The court reporter shall serve a paper copy of the transcript by traditional methods on any paper party who has made arrangements for payment or who is entitled to be served with a copy. A court reporter may by agreement make the transcript available in another format.
When notice to the clerk of the supreme court and court of appeals is required, the court reporter shall provide notice as provided in s. 809.801 (15) (d).
A transcript, when filed under this section, becomes a part of the court file. The transcript shall be made available to the public in accordance with the statutes and rules governing court records and any court orders.
Under SCR 71.04
(10) (b), a court reporter may certify that the transcript is a verbatim transcript of the proceedings by applying the court reporter's signature in the same manner as provided in sub. (12) (a)
and then electronically filing the transcript.
A court reporter shall electronically file with the circuit court any sentencing transcript prepared under s. 973.08 (2)
. Payment shall be made as provided by SCR 71.04
(5) and s. 973.08 (2)
. The electronic filing system may provide a method to electronically transmit the transcript to the Department of Corrections as provided in s. 973.08 (5)
A court reporter shall electronically file an original unredacted transcript with the circuit court. Parties shall comply with the requirements of ss. 801.19 (4)
and 801.21 (8)
, regarding redaction and sealing of protected information in the transcript. If redaction is ordered, a court reporter shall electronically file a complete copy of the redacted transcript as provided in s. 801.19 (4)
A court reporter's verbatim record that is required to be stored under SCR 71.03
, SCR 72.01
(47), and Rule of Trial Court Administration 7 shall continue to be stored in its original medium.
A user whose filing is made untimely as a result of a technical failure may seek appropriate relief from the court as follows:
If the failure is caused by the court electronic filing system, the court may make a finding of fact that the user attempted to file the document with the court in a timely manner by submitting it to the electronic filing system. The court may enter an order permitting the document to be deemed filed or served on the date and time the user first attempted to submit the document electronically or may grant other relief as appropriate.
If the failure is not caused by the court electronic filing system, the court may grant appropriate relief from non-jurisdictional deadlines upon satisfactory proof of the cause. Users are responsible for timely filing of electronic documents to the same extent as filing of paper documents.
A motion for relief due to technical failure shall be made on the next day the office of the clerk of court is open. The document that the user attempted to file shall be filed separately and any fees due shall be paid at that time.
This subsection shall be liberally applied to avoid prejudice to any person using the electronic filing system in good faith.
Sup. Ct. Order No. 14-03
, 2016 WI 29, 368 Wis. 2d xiii; Sup. Ct. Order No. 14-03A
, 2016 WI 80, 370 Wis. 2d xxxiii; 2017 a. 365
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 19-01
, 2019 WI 44, 386 Wis. 2d xvii; 2019 a. 30
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 20-07
, 2021 WI 37, filed 4-23-21, eff. 7-1-21.
Sup. Ct. Order No. 14-03
states that “the Comments to the statutes and to the supreme court rules created pursuant to this order are not adopted, but will be published and may be consulted for guidance in interpreting and applying the rule.”
Sub. (2) provides that the mandatory use of electronic filing will be implemented according to a schedule determined by the director of state courts. The director will designate the order and timing of implementation after evaluating the resources available for programming, the readiness of the persons affected, and the logistical support available for implementation. The director may advance or delay implementation of certain case types, may require or exempt participation by certain filers, and may require other conditions as necessary. The director will set the schedule after consultation with the steering committee that oversees the work of the consolidated court automation programs.
All open cases will be converted to an electronic format. Mandatory electronic filing will apply both to new cases and to new documents filed in old cases. This will allow both the court and the parties to more quickly reap the benefits of all-electronic files rather than persist for years with both paper and electronic court records.
Conversion to electronic files is an enormous change for parties, attorneys, and the court system. Good-faith efforts and cooperation will promote a smooth transition to the new system.
Sub. (3) (a) distinguishes between non-attorney filers for purposes of mandatory participation in the electronic filing system. Under s. 799.06 (2), certain employees, agents, and LLC members may be authorized to file on behalf of an organization in small claims proceedings. This group of persons includes both high-volume filers like utility companies and hospitals and low-volume filers like small businesses and individual landlords. This section requires the high-volume filers to use the electronic filing system and allows small filers to participate voluntarily like self-represented parties.
Sub. (3) (j) recognizes that there are persons who occasionally file documents in cases where they are not parties, such as witnesses seeking protective orders, intervenors, amicus curiae, and crime victims under ch. 950. There are also many professionals and agencies regularly providing case-related services to the court, such as presentence investigators and social workers. To the extent that it is feasible and resources allow, the director may provide a means for filing documents and exchange of information in these situations.
Sub. (4) (c) provides that where personal service is not required, submission of a document to the electronic filing system is considered service on the other electronic users. Just as service through the post office is considered complete upon dropping a properly addressed envelope into a mailbox, service using the electronic filing system is complete upon properly transmitting the document.
Sub. (4)(e) is a change to law and practice. Currently, paper filings must arrive at the office of the clerk of court before the end of the regular business day in order to be considered filed on that day. Northern Air Services v. Link
, 2011 WI 75
, 336 Wis. 2d 1
, 804 N.W.2d 458
. However, the most common if not universal practice among courts that mandate electronic filing is to use the entire calendar day as the filing period; this is also the practice recommended to the Wisconsin courts by the National Center for State Courts. This provision gives a user an extra few hours to file on the last day a document is due but does not otherwise affect the calculation of time. If a user submits a document or the court signs an order on a day when the clerk's office is closed, it is considered filed on the next day the clerk's office is open, except as provided by other statutes and rules, or by court order.
For consistency, the circuit court fax statute, s. 801.16(2) (f), is also amended. For a document that can be filed by facsimile, paper parties are given the advantage of the extended filing hours by providing that pleadings received before midnight will be considered filed that day.
Sub. (5) does not change the substantive law about when personal service is required for purposes of commencing the action and obtaining jurisdiction over the defendant or respondent.
Sub. (6) (a) provides that the electronic filing system now serves as the means of delivery between users for subsequent documents, the kind that were previously served by mail or delivery. Paper parties will continue to be served by traditional methods for both initiating and subsequent documents.
Sub. (6) (f) outlines how mandatory electronic filing will be initiated on previously filed cases. For cases that are in open status at the time electronic filing becomes mandatory, the clerk will work with attorneys and high-volume filing agents to register as users on their open cases. Parties who are not yet registered but who might be voluntary users will be provided with instructions on how to participate in the electronic filing system if they choose.
For cases that are in closed status, no action is required unless there is further activity on the case. Where post-judgment activity takes place, the first party to initiate electronic activity in the case must serve any unregistered parties by traditional methods. Mandatory users must then register as users on the case.
Sub. (7) (a) provides that filing fees shall be paid through the electronic filing system unless other arrangements are made. Payment of fines and forfeitures may be handled through separate websites. Other fees and deposits, such as guardian ad litem fees and condemnation awards, may be paid by other methods if ordered by the court or agreed to by the clerk of court. Attorneys should consult the Rules of Professional Conduct with respect to the restrictions on electronic transactions from trust accounts.
Sub. (7) (b) provides that the electronic filing fee may be waived for indigent parties and their attorneys, using the same procedure and criteria that courts apply to waiver of other costs and fees. If the court denies the waiver, the court may allow time to submit the fee for the filing to be considered filed on the date when it was first submitted.
Sub. (7) (c) provides that the electronic filing fee will not be charged to a Wisconsin governmental unit such as the district attorney, public defender and appointed counsel, court-appointed counsel, child support agency, Attorney General, or county and municipal attorney.
Sub. (8) (a) recognizes that the electronic filing system will become more sophisticated and user-friendly over time. Users should expect a number of changes during the initial years of electronic filing. Information about upcoming changes and any new requirements for equipment, software, formatting, connectivity, security, and staff training will be made available to the public.
Sub. (9) provides that court case files must be kept electronically. Mandatory users are required to file all documents electronically, with only a few exceptions. Documents submitted by paper parties will be converted to electronic format by the clerk of court. Because any paper submitted will be discarded after it is imaged, parties should not submit original documents to the court.
Similarly, this section does not require the parties to retain original paper documents. If there is likely to be a challenge to the validity of a document or exhibit, parties may be well-advised to keep the original document. For a high-volume practice, the economics may not support keeping paper originals when the remainder of the file is electronic, and parties may prefer to assume the risk of failure of proof.
Sub. (9) (k) allows most documents submitted in court as exhibits to be imaged and made part of the electronic record, rather than retained in paper format. If the court requires that the original document be produced for inspection, it will be retained pursuant to the supreme court rule governing imaging of exhibits.
Sub. (9) (L) requires an agency submitting an administrative record for review to file an electronic copy of the record.
Sub. (10) provides that electronic authentication satisfies the authentication requirements of Wisconsin Statutes, including ss. 801.02, 801.09 (4), and 909.02 (8). Statutory authentication requirements must be met upon filing of the summons and complaint in order to confer jurisdiction on the court. American Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Royal Ins. Co.
, 167 Wis. 2d 524
, 534, 481 N.W.2d 629