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Missouri Judiciary launches website to help public learn about remote public access to case documents
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Judiciary today is launching a new website to help the public learn more about major upcoming changes to Case.net, the web-based search portal for information about Missouri court cases. The Remote Public Access website uses a question-and-answer format to explain the upcoming changes, which will allow for access to public case documents from personal electronic devices. A short video also is available.
The move to remote public access, announced last year, has been years in the making, as technology has allowed the courts to move from a wholly paper-driven system to an electronic system. Since the late 1990s, the public has been able to use Case.net to view certain information about cases filed in Missouri. After electronic filing began a dozen years ago, people could use public access terminals in courthouses throughout the state to view public documents filed in cases. But this new change will allow people to view public case documents to view, download and print public case documents from their personal computers, tablets or cell phones.
“Innovations in technology have not only revolutionized the way we in the courts work, but they also have fundamentally changed how Missourians interact with their courts,” Chief Justice Paul C. Wilson said. “The changes coming to Case.net starting July 1 will allow Missourians to access public court documents when and where it’s most convenient for them.”
But remote public access also heightens the need to protect confidential information in court documents. This is a responsibility shared by not only lawyers but also by people who represent themselves in court.
“Anyone filing documents in a Missouri court has an obligation to redact confidential information as required by law,” Wilson said. “But with this expanded public access comes a greater responsibility for everyone – lawyers and self-represented people alike – to exercise diligence and care in carrying out the redaction responsibility.”
The new website will help answer questions such as:
What is Case.net, and why is public access being expanded?
How is confidential information in court cases protected?
Whose job is it to redact confidential information from public documents?
What information must be redacted?
How do I redact confidential information from a document?
What do I file with the court?
What if someone makes a mistake?
It also provides links to rules, forms and examples of redaction as well as additional resources.
The expanded access to public case documents will be prospective only – available only for documents filed on or after July 1, 2023. Documents filed before that date will continue to be available at the public access terminals in every state courthouse. Remote public access will be phased in over the coming months based on an implementation schedule for the courts. Public documents filed in the Supreme Court of Missouri and Missouri Court of Appeals will be available remotely first, gradually followed by the state’s circuit courts. Both the implementation schedule and a map showing when courts are scheduled to being offering remote public access are featured in the new website.