Orange County, CA and the State of Texas Conduct User Experience Research and Learn that SRLs in Civil Cases Can E-File (News 2016)
What are we learning about self-represented litigants who e-file? Who are they? Where are they? What cases do they file? How do the tools work for them?
Using identical survey instruments, the Superior Court in Orange County and the Texas Office of Court Administration (Texas AOC) gathered valuable e-filing insights into these questions for both represented and self-represented parties, and presented their findings at CTC2015.
Orange County, with mandatory e-filing in civil cases, received survey responses from approximately 1,300 people in 2013. In 2015, the Texas AOC used the same survey to gather responses from approximately 500 respondents who had the option of e-filing in civil cases. The most significant take-away in comparing the results in the vastly different jurisdictions (in terms of population, geography, culture, court structure and legal requirements) is that the results were nearly the same; and these results support the conclusion that e-filing does not generally create unmanageable barriers for SRLs in civil cases. As courts consider expanding into SRL heavy case types, this research, the first of its kind to explore the user experience in e-filing, offers an important window into what types of supportive services users need, and what courts should be considering as they expand e-filing. Other courts are encouraged to use the survey instrument in their jurisdiction as they expand e-filing.