Through mandates from the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals, all attorneys filing in district courts, statutory county courts, constitutional county courts, and statutory probate courts must submit all documents electronically. However, individuals who are not represented by an attorney may file electronically but are not required to do so. Some of the advantages of electronic filing (e-filing) over filing court documents in person include a reduction in processing and service costs and the convenience of filing and serving documents at any time. Despite these advantages, the e-filing process might seem a bit daunting to a self-represented litigant (SRL) and might serve as just one more obstacle that an SRL has to overcome.
Fortunately, there is some help in that regard. eFile Texas SelfHelp, a web portal that guides users through the necessary forms for various cases, provides a solution to help SRLs jump that hurdle and get their cases filed. eFile Texas SelfHelp uses an interview-based system to help the user complete the forms needed for the type of case that they seek to file. Case types include protective orders, divorce, adult name change, occupational driver’s licenses, small claims, and much more. Through a series of “interview” questions, the user provides the information necessary for the portal to create the form desired by the user. Once the interview is finished, the requested document is generated, and the user has an opportunity to review it before submitting it to the court. To further assist the user, definitions of key terms are provided as well as links to legal assistance agencies. eFile Texas SelfHelp brings the clerk’s office to the user’s home and provides another means for bridging the justice gap.