Courts in twelve North Carolina counties will upgrade to a new digital case management system on February 5, 2024, the director of theNorth Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) announced today.
The 12 counties in Track 3 of the eCourts transition comprise District Court Districts 1 and 2 – Beaufort, Chowan, Currituck, Camden, Dare, Gates, Hyde,Martin, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington counties. Currently five counties are live on the eCourts system – Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Mecklenburg, and Wake counties.
|For the first time beginning February 5, 2024, court records in the 12 Track 3 counties will be searchable online at no-cost to the public, and attorneys and self-represented parties can electronically file court documents. The eCourts access to justice tool Guide & File, which assists self-represented users with creating common legal filings through an automated interview process, will allow electronic submissions in Track 3 counties on that date.|
“This transition of North Carolina’s court system is long overdue and empowers the public with free online records searches, remote electronic filings, and digital access to justice that aligns with our constitutional mandate that the courts ‘shall be open,’” said NCAOC Director Ryan Boyce.
“This progress would not be possible without the dedication of local court officials and statewide partners working together to deliver a 21st century justice system for North Carolina. We are grateful for their commitment to upgrading paper processes to digital access in our state courts.”
The NCAOC estimates more than 1.8 million sheets of paper have been saved by eCourts since the platform’s pilot project began in February 2023. Roughly 30 million pieces of paper are added to court files each year in North Carolina. The historic transition from paper court records to online files is also shifting data storage from old mainframes to the cloud, allowing NCAOC to retire outdated network infrastructure and improve digital accessibility long-term.
Counties using eCourts have successfully accepted over 405,000 electronic filings to date, and the public conducts an average of over 10,000 electronic searches daily through the eCourts Portal, saving countless trips to the courthouse by replacing paper processes with online access. More than 43,000 interviews have been completed to create common legal filings in the eCourts Guide & Print/Guide and File tool.
Preparations for the Track 3 transition have been ongoing to install network and technology infrastructure and plan for changes to court operations. Court official trainings and walkthroughs officially begin in Track 3 on November 13, 2023.
The NCAOC will offer virtual eFiling trainings for attorneys and members of the public in Track 3 of the eCourts transition beginning in December 2023, and in-person eFiling trainings for the public will begin in early January 2024. Scheduling details for those trainings will be announced by the NCAOC in the coming weeks. Thousands of attorneys and members of the public participated in virtual and in-person trainings for Tracks 1 and 2 of the eCourts transition.
The eCourts project in North Carolina is replacing aging, mainframe network infrastructure with an integrated, cloud-based suite of applications. Unlike many states that manage electronic court systems at the county level, North Carolina has a unified court system that is integrated across all 100 counties.
The statewide rollout of eCourts is planned for completion by the end of 2025.
In addition to providing electronic filing solutions for attorneys and self-represented litigants through File & Serve and Guide & File, the generational shift for the Judicial Branch includes a range of other new platforms. The transition is shifting local paper process records to statewide cloud-based software platforms for criminal processes (eWarrants), traffic tickets and other infractions (Brazos / Enforcement Mobile), free online records search (Portal), and the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS) known as Odyssey / Enterprise Justice.
A large network of IT and software systems teams from NCAOC support the eCourts transition through on-site assistance, remote monitoring, and help desk response. Several eCourts platforms already operate statewide, including eWarrants, Enforcement Mobile, and a dual-form of Guide & File.
Visit NCcourts.gov/ecourts to register for eCourts platforms, learn to navigate the systems with user guides, and learn more about North Carolina courts’ digital transition.