Login | May 24, 2022

Some new technology rules from the Ohio Supreme Court

Technology for Lawyers

Published: May 6, 2022

The newly-empowered iCOURT task force has been busy. The group was commissioned by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor in September of 2020 to recommend changes in how Ohio courts relate with technology and has promulgated its first set of New Rules, which will become effective July 1.
iCOURT’s primary portfolio is the development of rules designed to allow courts more flexibility, while increasing access to justice at the same time.
The new rules are amendments to current Rules for Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio. While many of the larger courts likely are already technically proficient in many of the areas covered by the new amendments, the smaller courts in low-population counties may have to raise their tech games considerably.
The first change is notable. New Rule 2(A) now reads that an “appearance” “in person” or words to those effects now attaches to a physical appearance or a remote appearance in court. New Rule 2(E) defines “open court” as including either in-person or remote access; Rule 2(F) defines “remote” as what you would think.
Rule 5(D) expands jury management plans to include conducting jury trials remotely.
New Sup. R. 5 (E) (1) will now require every Ohio court or division of a court, as applicable, to come up with a technology plan “for purposes of ensuring the efficient and effective use of technology” in delivering that court’s services. The rule concentrates on developing technology for electronic service, conducting remote hearings, acceptance of e-signatures, and “any other technology solution.”
Sup. R. 5(E)(2) requires remote procedures to be accessible under the ADA.
The amendment to Rule 13 will permit pre-recorded testimony at trial, whether it is pre-recorded in-person or remotely. This will seriously bring down the costs for expert witnesses, etc.
Rule 13 is also edited to take out the word “videotaped” and substitute the word “recorded,” as well as listing other types of recording devices that will now be allowed to be used in court, like discs, videoconferencing platforms and digital recordings. Better late than never, I guess.
So iCOURT is definitely making a positive difference from the get. Good show.