- Associated Press - Thursday, September 3, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court launched a multimillion-dollar project Thursday aimed at making state court documents widely available online while also allowing clerks in counties with relatively light caseloads to help out busier counterparts.

A steering committee for the “eCourt” project had its first meeting in Topeka. The Supreme Court formed the group in April, and members include judges, attorneys and court administrators.

The project is being financed with court fees, and while there’s no estimate on the total cost, at least $4.1 million is to be set aside over the next four years.

“What we’re trying to do is set up a statewide, Web-based virtual courthouse,” said Supreme Court Justice Dan Biles, the steering committee’s chairman. “To do this is going to require the standardization of office practices at all levels and the standardization of technology.”

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss said the project will make documents accessible online but also create efficiencies within the court system.



“Clerks, for example, can be in Sedgwick County, at their desks and they can help out clerks in Wyandotte County or Cherokee County or Seward County, or vice versa, because they’ll all be using the same system,” Nuss told reporters during a break in the meeting.

Some district courts introduced electronic filing in 2009, and more than half of the state’s 31 judicial districts allow attorneys and court employees to file and store documents electronically. In Douglas County, electronic filing is required, and the Supreme Court and state Court of Appeals will start requiring it in November.

Biles stressed that the high court does not intend to force the state’s most populous county, Johnson County, to overhaul the system it developed independently.

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Online:

Kansas Supreme Court: https://bit.ly/1w7Bfiw

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Follow John Hanna on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

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