(PRINCE FREDERICK, LA PLATA, AND LEONARDTOWN, MARYLAND – June 14, 2017) – The Maryland Electronic Courts (MDEC) case management system is now operational in Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties. The launch of MDEC in a county makes electronic filing mandatory for attorneys representing clients in civil and criminal cases in District Court, Circuit Court, and any appellate filings that commence in that county.
MDEC modernizes court processes and makes case filing more convenient for litigants. Maryland attorneys have been filing electronically, or “e-filing,” since October 2014, when MDEC launched as a pilot in Anne Arundel County. The Judiciary is expanding the highly automated system to provide attorneys with the opportunity to transition from a paper-based process to a technology-based electronic filing system.
“The Maryland Judiciary continues to make great progress in bringing electronic filing and case management to all Maryland state courts in order to improve services for the people of Maryland,” said Mary Ellen Barbera, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. “Implementation of MDEC statewide will allow the Judiciary to meet a key goal of its strategic plan: improving services for all who enter the court by modernizing systems and streamlining processes. The launch of MDEC in these three jurisdictions would not have been possible without the commitment of Judiciary staff and leadership throughout the implementation process.”
“With this launch, the Judiciary has successfully implemented MDEC in more than half of the court jurisdictions in the state,” said John P. Morrissey, Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland. “The tremendous work by everyone in the courts and the supporting offices to train, update hardware and facilities, and prepare for the new system has resulted in a smooth, seamless transition.”
“This is a long-awaited and planned-for event in our courts,” said Sheila R. Tillerson Adams, Administrative Judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit, which consists of Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s counties. “Our judges and staff are well-prepared for this launch, having trained and worked with those who have already implemented the system, and we are pleased to be able to modernize our records system.”
“Our launch was like an almost-normal workday because we have all been working very hard behind the scenes to prepare for MDEC,” said Christy Holt Chesser, Administrative Judge for District 4, which consists of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties. “This system is an important step forward in terms of records management and case filing.”
Courts no longer will accept paper filings from attorneys in areas where MDEC has launched. Maryland Rule 20-106(b), however, sets out the circumstances in which a person may be excused from the e-filing requirement. Nonpayment of rent cases filed under Maryland Code, Real Property, Section 8-401, will continue to be exempt from mandatory electronic filing until further notice.
As part of the preparation for MDEC’s launch in Southern Maryland, the Judiciary held informational events and offered online instructions to help attorneys learn about the new system, how to register to use it, and how to e-file.
The Judiciary website has more information about MDEC and instructions for attorneys and staff on how to register to e-file. Attorneys and staff who are registered to e-file can register for webinars and training.
As of June 12, MDEC is operational in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester counties.
The next launch of MDEC will be October 16, 2017 in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties in Western Maryland. The Judiciary is on pace to achieve the goal to bring MDEC to every court by 2021.