Electronic filing of court papers with public access to many of the documents is now the standard for federal courts through PACER. And now New York State Courts have an e-Filing System, NYSCEF. NYSCEF permits the filing of legal papers by electronic means with the County Clerk and the courts in certain case types in designated venues, as well as electronic service of papers in those cases. Tompkins County is not yet one of the venues; click here for the list of current counties eligible.
For free public access, any individual can search via the “search as guest” function on the Log In screen; no NYSCEF account is required. However, the judge can order the county clerk to seal particular documents or the entire case. “Sensitive” documents can be viewed by attorneys consented in that particular case and by the public at the county clerk computer.
A demonstration video designed to familiarize filers with its functionality is available here. How to get to the Courthouse is no longer the first problem new lawyers have to deal with. NYSCEF and PACER on the web take you there virtually!