Starting Feb. 1, the state Court of Appeals will begin to make the briefs, records and motion papers for all its cases available online free of charge, the court announced yesterday. Electronic access will be through a new searchable database called the Public Access and Search System, or Court-PASS. The court said the only restriction on access will be in cases where papers are sealed under law, such as appeals of Family Court rulings. Officials said sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, phone numbers and the names of parties' children, will be excised from otherwise open documents. Documents for cases pending on Jan. 1, 2013, or those filed with the court afterward will be accessible through the new system.
Andrew Klein, the Court of Appeals' chief clerk, said the system also will allow litigants to submit their papers directly in a digital format, replacing the current system where the papers are put on disk and mailed to the clerk. Briefs and other documents must still be filed in paper, but the number of required copies will be reduced to the original plus nine copies, from the original and 19 copies.
The introduction of the Court-PASS system was authorized earlier this month in changes to the Rules of Practice of the Court of Appeals (22 NYCRR Part 500) and the Rules for Review of Determinations of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 530). The new system will be accessible atwww.nycourts.gov/ctapps. The court's full announcement is posted at www.newyorklawjournal.com/courtNotes.jsp under Court Notes.