iFiling or eFiling: What Are The Differences & Why It’s Important For Your Court

In the last few years, electronic court filing has emerged as the new frontier for filing cases online. Many courts across the country have already made the transition to some form of e-filing or they are actively looking at efiling possibilities. To those courts, we congratulate you on taking a big step towards transitioning your court system into today’s electronic delivery age.

However, many court officials don’t realize they are missing an important industry advancement if they settle for ONLY e-filing. As a business tool, e-filing has many variations and levels of technical functionality, some of which actually may negatively impact court efficiency. In some instances, e-filing is merely basic email functionality with attachments, (PDF forms, supporting documents, etc). Although this may reduce the filer’s courthouse trips, e-filing alone is limited technology that does little to improve court case processing efficiency.

Courts Beware: e-filing systems that do not significantly accommodate court’s complex legal and business environments, are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Fortunately, there is an industry advancement that boosts e-filing to the next generation; one that is specifically designed to aid filers (self-represented individuals in particular), court staff and IT departments in a single, advanced package. It’s called iFiling: TurboCourt’s award-winning court filing technology that uses intelligent, interactive, interviews (thus “iFiling”) and XML data exchanges to create a new court filing frontier. This blog article illustrates the differences between the typical e-filing systems used by courts  today, and the comprehensive iFiling solution from TurboCourt. We will also highlight why this distinction is so important for your court, including the benefits you can start to see immediately.

You may be wondering… What does iFiling have that eFiling doesn’t?

Well, iFiling combines a number of unique attributes including automatic completion of court forms on behalf of filers, embedded quality control that identifies errors and helps filers correct them before filing, electronic delivery to court staff work queues for review/acceptance, and creation of XML data that integrates with more case management systems. No efiling system does this for all case types, ready for courts to activate, as TurboCourt does.

The heart of i-Filing lies in its interactive intelligent technology designed to guide filers through a series of easy-to-understand questions online and offers virtual self-help online along the way.

Each question builds upon the last, creating a customized pathway based on that filer’s unique case details. Each answer the filer provides is used to automatically populate all appropriate fields.

iFiling empowers inexperienced self-represented filers to prepare and submit 100% error-free court cases online, easily, without leaving their homes or offices. iFiling is:

  • Hyper user-friendly
  • Uses plain language
  • No complex legal jargon
  • No prior legal experience needed
  • Accomodates limited literacy & computer skills

How e-filing limits your court to the “old generation”

Traditional efiling systems typically require filers to fill out and then, attach forms, often in PDF format and transmit it to the court electronically. It is the filer’s responsibility to:

  • Identify & use the correct forms
  • Read and understand the legal terms
  • Fill the forms out completely, legibly and accurately; Travel to courthouse and wait in line to get assistance needed
  • Complete blank forms online without any quality control checkpoint
  • Manually scan forms for attachment

efiled forms typically contain traditional legal terms that filers do not understand or know how to answer.  Often, multiple forms require multiple entries by the filer, increasing the chance for errors to occur. If a filer makes an error while filling in the form, there is no internal error identification or capability to correct the error.

BOTTOM LINE: Incorrectly prepared forms can be submitted to the court, whether in paper or electronically, causing an immediate hard stop to court efficiency and is time-consuming / frustrating for filers.

Why is iFiling the Next Generation for Both Filers and Courts?

With TurboCourt’s intelligent iFiling solution, advanced built-in logic, combined with just-in-time, virtual self-help, guides filers through an interactive, Q&A style online interview. Questions that appear onscreen are customized based on individual facts of their case. iFiling asks simple questions, filers respond and that information is used to prepare all necessary forms for the filer. iFiling takes the filers responses, creates data that TurboCourt uses to automatically populate all the required forms. Filers interact easily with TurboCourt and the work is done for them!

Proactive Error-Check

TurboCourt iFiling also automates much of the initial review work for court staff. If a filer provides incorrect information, TurboCourt:

  • Identifies it before submission
  • Alerts the filer
  • Explains why there is an error
  • Instructs them how to correct it
  • Reviews the correction before submission, to ensure it has been fixed

All errors must be corrected before the case form is actually generated. If TurboCourt has approved a filing, court staff can now focus on processing the filing, not contacting the file for correction.

Side-By-Side Comparison of iFiling and eFiling

The following matrix compares various characteristics of efiling and iFiling. Visit our Court Officials page for additional details or Call 877-260-1792.

Other efiling systems
iFiling by TurboCourt

FORM APPEARANCE
Basic Online PDF Forms. No interactive instructions or guidance provided.
Easy-to-Use, Q&A format interactively guides filers through online interview, depending on individual facts of their case. Uses filers answers to automatically complete all necessary forms for them.
CASE TYPES SUPPORTED
Available for all case types
Available for all case types
LEGAL TERMS & INSTRUCTION
Instructions are in complex legal terms & language; often confusing for self-represented filers
Instructions are in easy-to-understand language; Legal terms are explained; Simple instructions are provided in every step. Hyperlinks to additional information or required forms.
ERROR-CHECKING
N/A
Proactive error-checking performs a quality review and alerts filers of any missing or inaccurate information as the questions are answered.
TIME SPENT
Requires extra time to manually enter duplicate information multiple times, if it’s requested on multiple forms (i.e.: Date of Birth, Address, Etc.)
Saves filers time by re-using the response information for other sections and forms. Filers answer once, TurboCourt reuses the information.
ADVANCED FEATURES
N/A
Guardianship – Automated financial calculations; Alerts & reminders when annual reports will be  due

Domestic Violence – Enables offsite secure locations to file protective orders (victims avoid courthouse visit to file)

TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM
Basic e-file functionality
Intelligent, Award-Winning Technology
INTEGRATION WITH EXISTING COURT SOFTWARE
Standard Integration Available; (May not apply to all systems)
Comprehensive & Seamless Integration with ALL Existing Court Software
HELP CENTER / TECHNICAL SUPPORT
N/A
Built-in virtual self-help provides automated assistance to all filers
EFFECTS ON COURTHOUSE FILER SUPPORT
Minimal (or no) reduction in counter lines, telephone support calls.
Major reduction in counter lines, wait times and alleviate filer support duties for Clerk Staff
WHAT DO FILERS SAY?
Time consuming, confusing, frustrating, requires court staff assistance to answer filer’s questions along the way
Simple to understand, easy, stress-free, fast. Saves time by avoiding visits to the courthouse to ask questions

Next Steps

Activate Your Court

Did you know your court may be eligible to start using TurboCourt iFiling for FREE? Simply fill out the form to inquire about how to Activate Your Court Now!

For additional information, Click Here or Call 877-260-1792.