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Electronic court filing

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Title: Electronic court filing  
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Subject: ECF, Electronic Filing System, Tango (tax software)
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Electronic court filing

For other uses of "E-file", see E-file (disambiguation).

Electronic court filing (ECF), or e-filing, is the automated transmission of legal documents from an attorney, party or self-represented litigant to a court, from a court to an attorney, and from an attorney or other user to another attorney or other user of legal documents.[1]

Technical standards

The LegalXML Electronic Court Filing Technical Committee, a subcommittee of OASIS, with members representing both public and private sector organizations, has developed technical specifications that provide for standardization of the following for electronic filing of court documents:

These Standards for Electronic Filing Processes (Technical and Business Approaches).

In the summer of 2009, the NCSC commenced a survey of the usage of e-filing in state courts across the country, including U.S. Territories. The survey responses were published in the 2009 NCSC Court E-filing Survey.

Release history

  • LegalXML:
  • ECF 1.0: March 22, 2000
  • ECF 1.1: July 7, 2002
  • ECF 3.0: November 11, 2005
    • ECF 3.01: April 25, 2006
  • ECF 3.1: December 4, 2007
  • ECF 4.0: October 8, 2008


  • Collaboration on nonproprietary standards for the legal community
  • Merged with OASIS in March 2002.

ECF 1.0

ECF 1.1

This version was approved by the NCSC Joint Technology Committee as a recommended standard in 2002.

ECF 2.0

This version number was skipped in order to create a linkage between GJXDM 3.0.

ECF 3.0

  • Leverage new and emerging standards
    • Volcabularies
      • GJXDM
      • UBL
    • Web services
      • W3C
      • OASIS
      • WS-I
  • Use of XML schemas rather than DTD
  • Supports Standards for Electronic Filing Processes (Technical and Business Approaches) approved in 2003.

ECF 4.0

  • Conforms with NIEM

Implementation assistance

In an effort to promote implementation of the ECF 4.0 specification, the OASIS LegalXML ECF committee developed a "quick start guide", the 7 Steps to Electronic Filing with Electronic Court Filing 4.0. The guide provides information on the following topics:

  • Standardize integration methods in an e-filing implementation with XML
  • Integrate with any potential e-filing service provider or share e-filing data between systems or partners
  • Set up a single method of processing data related to e-filing
  • Find out how to implement legal service in an e-filing application

The LegalXML Electronic Court Filing Technical Committee serves as the primary source of documentation and support.

See also


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