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story.lead_photo.caption Chief Justice John Dan Kemp

BENTONVILLE -- Filing court documents electronically in Washington County will hopefully begin in June, Justice Dan Kemp said Thursday.

The chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court made the announcement at the Benton County Bar Association meeting.

"It's a great benefit to the lawyers and judges, but also the public," Kemp said.

The electronic filing system allows lawyers and self-represented litigants to file court documents online instead of going to a circuit clerk's office.

E-filing has been available in Benton County for more than a year. Washington County will be the 17th county with the program.

The goal is to have the program statewide by 2025, Kemp said. There are nearly 6,000 registered users of the system, according to a news release from the Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts. The state office pays for the system.

Bentonville attorney Josh Mostyn said e-filing in Washington County will save time and money by streamlining and standardizing the process. Mostyn said the system is more efficient than paper filing.

Ryan Blue, a Rogers lawyer, said he welcomes the system starting in Washington County.

"I'm looking forward to not driving down to Fayetteville to file something," Blue said.

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Washington County Circuit Clerk Kyle Sylvester said he and his team are excited the project is underway. Sylvester said he's had many inquiries about when his office was going to have the system.

Sylvester said they have worked hard since 2015 to prepare to accept e-filings and are looking forward to being able to provide the service.

Washington County has one of the largest filing volumes in the state, he said.

"It is our obligation to stay on the leading edge of convenience and technology as court systems in the state move to a paperless format as this will allow our team to continue to provide greater customer service," Sylvester said.

Seth Bickett, a lawyer in Bentonville, was reluctant about using e-filing when it launched in Benton County.

Bickett said he's now a big fan of the system.

"E-filing is more efficient, and it's easier and saves time," he said.

NW News on 03/02/2018

Print Headline: E-filing to start in Washington County

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