February 12, 2015
The Federal Courts Rules have now been amended to allow for electronic service, electronic filing, and the use of electronic documents in the Federal Courts. The intent behind these amendments was to eliminate impediments to the eventual migration from paper records to electronic records in the Federal Courts and allow electronic processing of those records.
The amendments to the Rules were not intended to set the deadline by which that migration was to occur. The migration to electronic records is dependent upon the Courts Administrative Service’s technological infrastructure. While the Service has the ability to accommodate a limited form of electronic filing at this time, it requires a significant infusion of funds in order to give full effect to the modifications contained in the amendments to the Rules. The Service is actively pursuing this additional funding.
As a result, the amendments to the Rules dealing with electronic filing and electronic records should be read as enabling, in the sense that they allow electronic filing and the use of electronic records by the parties as and when the Service acquires the capacity to give full effect to those amendments. That is not presently the case. Until further notice, proceedings in the Federal Court of Appeal will continue to be based on a paper record which is to be prepared and filed in the manner provided for such records.
Accordingly, the options relating to the electronic filing and electronic records found in 71(1)(4) and (5), 71.1(2), 72.2, 72.3, 309(1.1)(b), 310(1.1)(b), 345(2)(b), 348(1)(b), 353, 354, 355, 364(1), 365(1) are not available to the parties.
The rules relating to electronic service, which are dependent upon the parties’ technology as opposed to the Service’s, are available to the profession as of the coming into force of the amended Rules.
Federal Court of Appeal