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Florida ePortal and eFiling

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Updated 4/26/2013

 

FAQs for Filers

Q: Is it true, lawyers will have to electronically file civil cases by April 1, 2013?

A: SC11-399, amended October 18, 2012, requires that attorneys e-file documents in civil cases filed in probate, family, circuit and county civil, by April 1, 2013. By October 1, 2013, attorneys must e-file documents in all criminal cases. The Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, www.myflcourtaccess.com, is the website name for the statewide portal that is to be used.

The Supreme Court and Appellate courts have a phased-in schedule for mandatory e-filing. SC 11-399, amended November 28, 2012, mandates e-filing at the Supreme Court by April 1.

 

Registration and Use

Q: How do I register and file?

A: On the Internet, go to www.myflcourtaccess.com.  Once there, you may want to add the site to your “Favorites” so you can easily get back to it. You will see the “Register” button at the top. Instructions are easy to follow for setting up your registration, user name and password. If you wish more assistance, there are a number of videos available on the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority website that can help you with many of the tasks, including initial registration.

The Florida Bar member database is used to validate who you are when signing on.  The system recognizes your Bar i.d. and the name that you have registered with The Bar. So, if you sign on as Bill Porter, and your registered Bar name is William Porter, the portal will reject the registration. So, make sure you do not mis-type your name or Bar i.d.

Q: How much does it cost to register and file?

A:  There is no cost to register. Once you register, you may file in all state courts in Florida.

The filing fees for various court actions are the same statutory fees as used for filing in the paper world. However, there is a convenience fee assessed for use of a credit card or ACH transaction. The convenience fee covers the associated banking and merchant fees as allowed by Florida Statutes. 

As long as the action does not carry a fee in the paper world, the filing will not have an associated fee in the electronic world.

Q: I tried to register but I cannot “get in” the portal. What should I do?

A: If you registered from the portal homepage, www.myflcourtaccess.com, you need to look for two emails sent to the email account you provided. The emails will be from noreply@myflcourtaccess.com. The first email acknowledges that you have successfully registered. The second email asks you to click on a link embedded in the body of the email. This link “activates” your account. Until you click through on this link, you cannot log into the portal from the home page. The link will take you to a page where can log in for the first time. Please make sure to write down your username and password for your records.

 

Payment

Q: How do I pay for filing a document?

A: The Florida Courts E-Filing Portal accepts Discover, MasterCard and American Express. The following convenience fees are established. 

Credit Cards = 3% of Filing Fee
ACH = $3 flat rate

The portal generates a receipt that is emailed to the filer when he or she files a document and it is accepted by the Clerk’s Office. That email message contains a number called the filing reference number, or “filing i.d.” That filing i.d. will show up on the credit card receipts and, by mid-year, will appear on bank statements as well. The following shows the numbering convention and several examples of how it will be presented.

“ePortal”+{8 digit filing id}+{space}+{6 character memo}

Samples from a statement:

ePortal822539 R Link
ePortal824252
ePortal826277 091644

Please note: the credit card or bank account is not charged for the filing until the Clerk accepts the filing.

Q: How may I have filing fees waived if filing on behalf of an entity exempted pursuant to s. 28.345, F.S.?

A:  There are two options for having filing fees waived:

Option 1 – At the bottom of the Payments screen in the Portal, click on the Request Fee Waiver checkbox and complete the required information.

Currently the indigency form is used for this action; however an agency can also create a form on agency letterhead to be uploaded and attached. If accepted by the Clerk during the review process, no fees will be assessed for the filing.

Option 2 – Request to have a “law firm account” established. These type accounts can be set up to waive filing fees for all users affiliated with the account.  This type account is an organizational account, not exclusive to private firms, and may be utilized by state agencies, state attorneys, public defenders, and other public entity organizations that are eligible according to s. 28.345, F.S.

An authorized organizational representative should contact their local Clerk’s office and request to have a Law Firm account established for their organization. Please refer to the Law Firm Administrator Manual on the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority website for details on managing the law firm account and its affiliated users.

Please note that, if an attorney files case on behalf of both a public entity (fees waived) and private clients (fees not waived), they may not be affiliated with a law firm account that has fees universally waived.  Those attorneys would have to utilize option 1 above when filing on behalf of public entity clients and pay the fees when filing on behalf of private clients.

Q: How do I know that my banking information is protected?

A: Each year Florida Courts E-Filing Portal has been audited for financial security and received no comments. Those audits are posted on the authority website, http://www.flclerks.com/eFiling_authority.html. Further, the portal was built to industry fraud standards using PCI compliance and the financial controls are monitored constantly.

Debit block services protect your bank accounts from unauthorized electronic charges. The block (or filter) provides stringent control over electronic transactions posted to bank accounts. Your bank will only process authorized transactions. Check with your bank before setting up a debit payment. If you have a debit block on your bank account, you must provide certain information to your bank so it can process your payments.

 

Documents

Q: Is special software required to e-file? And, what type of computer should I use?

A: No, the only requirement will be an internet connection and a browser. If you are able to send and receive email with attached documents, and use a fairly new computer — the portal supports Internet Explorer 8 or higher — you probably already know how to navigate your computer to attach a text or PDF document as you file on the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal. Use a personal computer when filing as the portal does not currently accept documents sent from an iPad or an Android device.

Please note: a document must be sent through the portal. Sending a document by email to the clerk or to support@myflcourtaccess.com does not get it filed or edited.

Q: What document types does the ePortal support?

A: The Florida Courts E-Filing Portal will accept filings in Word, Word Perfect, or PDF formats. By default, the ePortal will convert a WORD or Word Perfect document and provide it in PDF format to the local record system. Each county will also have the option to receive the original WORD document if available. The portal can also provide the conversion to TIFF format upon request if the local document management system cannot.    

Q: Are there any special requirements for documents?

A: Documents should be a standard size of 8 ½ x 11 inches (as defined in RJA 2.520). Documents should leave blank a 3 x 3 inch space at the top right-hand corner on the first page, and a 1 x 3 inch space at the top right-hand corner on each subsequent page, to accommodate statewide standard date/time stamps (as defined in RJA 2.520). Where possible, documents should be electronically signed. Black and white, non-color documents are preferred. Scanned documents should be at a resolution of 300 DPI (as defined in the State of Florida Electronic Records and Records Management Practices).

Multiple pleadings, motions, etc. should not be combined into one single file; each individual document should be uploaded via the Portal document submission process.

A deviation from these guidelines may result in the submitted filing being moved to a Pending Queue with the filer being notified via email and requested to correct the issue(s) with the document(s) and resubmit the filing.

The Document submission standards are posted the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority homepage, lower lefthand portion of the page.

Q: The portal is saying my document is not named right? What should I do?

A: The Appellate Court Technology Committee has approved and the Florida Court Technology Commission has been informed of the attached Document Binary File Name Standards for e-filing and e-record. Linked here, please be aware that certain naming conventions do not transmit through the portal without error.

 

Q: I hear my documents must be ADA compliant. What does that mean?

A:  The Supreme Court requires that documents submitted electronically to the Florida State Courts System must be ADA complaint. For more information about how to make your documents complaint, the Supreme Court has a page of information. Click here to access that page.

Q: I’m having issues filing a large document. Why won’t my document transmit properly?

A: Filings, which can be comprised of multiple documents, are limited to 25 megabytes in size. This also applies to a total size when adding more than one document—the sizes as added together cannot exceed 25 megabytes for one submission.

Rule 2.525(d)(5), Fla. R.Jud.Admin.,  provides that if your document is larger than 25 megabytes, “documents may be transmitted using an electronic storage medium that the clerk has the ability to accept, which may include a CD-ROM, flash drive, or similar storage medium.”

Q: What do I do if my document contains confidential information?

A: The filer must check the documents that are being filed for confidential information. If you are filing a document with confidential information, you must attach a Notice of Confidential Information within the court filing as per rule 2.420, Rule of Judicial Administration. The form is posted on the e-filing site, right above where you add a document. 

Q: How do I sign a document to send electronically:

A: The ePortal supports electronic signatures as defined in AO 09-30:

A pleading or other document is not required to bear the electronic image of the handwritten signature or an encrypted signature of the filer, but may be signed in the following manner when electronically filed through a registered user’s login and password.

    • s/ John Doe
    • John Doe (e-mail address)
    • Bar Number 12345
    • Attorney for (Plaintiff/Defendant)
    • XYZ Company
    • ABC Law Firm
    • 123 South Street Orlando, FL 32800
    • Telephone: (407) 123-4567

Verified and sworn documents and original paper judgments and sentences may be filed electronically but must also be deposited with the Clerk’s office in paper format.

Q: How do I know whether the county I am filing in requires paper-follow or whether my summons can be submitted and paid for when I file the complaint? Will the county take unsigned orders through the portal?

A: Currently there are variations found from county to county. For instance many counties have been able to cease taking paper follow-up. The best resource for that is to refer to the Supreme Court listing found at: http://www.flcourts.org/gen_public/technology/DiscontinuePaperFollowUpApprovals.shtml.

Counties that will allow a summons to be filed and paid for with a filing will have the option available in the drop down menus and the screens will ask you how many entities will need to be served. The payment screen will show that amount calculated along with the filing fee. A county that does not allow for sending the summons electronically will need it delivered in paper with a check.

The same issue applies for unsigned orders. Some counties have assigned a docket code so that one can submit the order. Other counties require them to be sent directly to the judge. You may have to call the county to see how it needs to be done.

Some counties have put this information in the news section. Once you begin the process of submitting a filing, and have selected a county, click on the tiny white triangle on the righthand sidebar. That will open a news portion of the page where the county may have information. Many Clerk’s Offices also have information on their websites for these type issues.

Q: I need to add a non-party filer or an intervenor and the selection in the party drop-down is not provided. What do I do?

A: The Clerk’s Office has the ability to add items to the drop-down menus. You will need to call the Clerk’s Office in the county in which you are fling so they can add that option in the party drop-down.

Q: How do I know my document was received?

A: You will receive an automated filing confirmation, in the email account you provided through your portal email, both when the portal receives the filing and also when the Clerk’s Office accepts the filing. Also watch for information on the “My Trial Court Filings” portion of your portal account when you logon. The time and date that is given when the portal receives the document, the note shows, “Submitted.”

Once the Clerk begins review at the local level, you will see the notation, “Pending Review.” The submission is in the list for the  Clerk to review. In the event there are issues with the document, you may see the term, “Pending Queue.”  At that point, the filer has 5 days to correct the issue with the document or it will be sent to the judge for “Judicial Review.”  If the document has been placed in the pending queue, there should be some direction by the clerk as to what needs corrected. Please review page 15 of the E-Filer Manual for the exact steps on how to edit the document for re-submission.

Once the filing is accepted into the local Clerk’s system, this becomes the official court record just like the current paper process. As a precaution, make sure you have sent the filing to the correct county to make sure it is timely filed.

Q: What is the best way to file exhibits?

A:  The best way to file exhibits is to create them as separate documents. Name them the same, but append the words: “Part 1 of 4,” “Part 2 of 4,” and the like, so the Clerk can tell the documents go together. Currently, several counties require the exhibits to be part of the main document; i.e., all in one document.

Q: How do I find out more about how to file a document through the portal?

A:  There are a number of documents, instructional videos and materials posted on the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority website. Additionally, there is an e-filer manual found in the Filer Documentation link once you are on the portal. Once logged in to the portal, scroll to the bottom of the screen.

More information can also be found on the Supreme Court’s page “E-Filing in Florida’s Courts.”   

The Florida Bar has a page devoted to e-filing resources linked here.

 

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Clerk's Office FAQs

Q: What is the testing process for individual counties to integrate their local systems with the ePortal?

A test site (test.myflcourtaccess.com) exists for this purpose and is supported by the FACC Service Center (support@flclerks.com). FACC development and testing team will work with local CMS application development and testing team directly during the integration testing phase. A set of “Test Cases” created by the Portal team will be shared with CMS application team, are used as base line for integration testing of CMS Interface. During the integration testing the portal team is responsible for generating the fillings sent to the CMS interface. Once integration aspects of the interface are tested, then additional testing can take place without involving the portal team.

Q: Does an individual Clerk’s office have to use the ePortal Review Client?

No, the ePortal supports two modes of a Filing Review Process: “Portal Review” and “Local Review”. The “Review Process Mode” is configured at each organization (Clerk) level. In “Portal Review” mode, filings submitted by the filers are stored at the ePortal. Reviewers (i.e. County Clerk Staff) sign on to the ePortal and utilize applications provided by the ePortal to review these filings.  Upon completion of the review process, filings are sent to local record keeping systems for docketing. In this mode, all functions of filing review process (receiving, presenting, and managing the filings) are handled at the ePortal level by ePortal provided components. In “Local Review Mode“(also called a non-ePortal Review), filings submitted by the filers are initially stored at the ePortal and immediately forwarded to local record keeping systems for review and docketing. In this mode, applications to review the filings and forwarding accepted filings for docketing are handled by third party applications. In this mode, the ePortal handles the receiving part and the third party application handles the presentation part of the Filing Review MDE. Management activities of the Filing Review MDE are split between the ePortal and the third party application.

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