What devices are supported by MiFILE?

MiFILE is accessed through the public internet by using a Web browser software application .  There are many popular Web browsers and MiFILE is intended to support all commonly-used, modern browsers*.

MiFILE will work with most popular devices, including personal computers (Windows, Apple, etc.), tablets and smartphones**.

*What is a “modern Web browser”

We say “modern Web browsers” because some older browsers work differently and are less secure, and do not work well with modern websites like MiFILE.  Because of the rapid changes in browser technology it is difficult to provide a definitive list of browsers and the working versions.  Your best bet is to test your browser by logging into the MiFILE site.  If everything looks good, then you’re probably fine.  If the site gives you an error message or the screens don’t look right, then you may want to consider downloading a new version of your Web browser, or installing an alternate Web browser, which are generally free.

**Can I use my Smartphone?

MiFILE will run on a Smartphone browser, but it is not optimized for this platform due to the limited screen size.  It is recommended that MiFILE be run from either a personal computer or a tablet computer.

Can I use the site without having an attorney?

Part of the advantage of e-filing, in general, is that it can provide greater access to courts to all people.  The courts can be confusing and intimidating for people without a legal background.  To help you, this blog provides some basic information.  More legal resources are available at the Michigan Legal Help website.

MiFILE is intended to be used by non-attorneys in one of the following situations:

  1. I’m filing on behalf of myself (in the legal world this is often referred to as “Pro Per” or “Pro Se”)
  2. I’m not an attorney, but I’m filing on behalf of an attorney.  These people often work for attorneys in a role of Legal Assistant or Paralegal.

“Pro Per” Filers

MiFILE was designed to be easy to use for all people.  Filers that wish to file on their own behalf are able to sign up for a MiFILE account using the standard sign-up procedures.  It’s free and all you’ll need is access to the internet and an e-mail address (note: when signing up MiFILE will require you to confirm your e-mail address by responding to an e-mail message, click here if you don’t have access to the internet).

During the signup process make sure you identify yourself as “Pro Per”, otherwise you’ll be required to enter an attorney bar number.  To make sure you’ve set this properly, go to the “Settings” area from the main page, and review the “My Information” area.

Using the MiFILE system is free and easy, and there is a lot of help on the site once you’ve logged in at: https://mifile.courts.michigan.gov/HelpLink.

You can also find resources for new filers by clicking here.

Filing on behalf of an attorney

MiFILE allows legal staff and other attorneys to file on behalf of an attorney and to share payment accounts.  To file on behalf of an attorney you must establish a “Connection” to that attorney (which requires acceptance by the attorney).  Once the connection is established the MiFILE system will allow you to identify the other Filer during the bundle creation/submission process (see the MiFILE help pages for more information).

What if I don’t have access to the Internet?

One of the goals of MiFILE is to improve access to justice for all citizens.  To use MiFILE you need to connect to the Internet using a supported device, so here are some options if you don’t have access.

  1. Most public libraries provide Internet access and a computer that can be used to connect to MiFILE (note: during signup you’ll need to be able to receive and respond to an e-mail).
  2. Most courts will accommodate filers in the court or clerk’s office or through other means.    For example, some courts provide public computers (kiosks) with scanning capabilities.  Each court provides different accommodations, so you should contact the court to ensure they can help you.
  3. The Michigan Legal Help organization is available to help people in many ways including self-help centers around the state.  Please visit their website at: https://michiganlegalhelp.org/ for further information.

 

Why isn’t MiFILE more like the federal PACER system?

Why isn’t MiFILE more like the federal PACER system?

This is a question we get all the time.  The Federal courts have developed an excellent e-filing system over the past 20 years or so called PACER or Public Access to Court Electronic Records.

First of all, PACER was developed for a different type of court (Federal vs. State/Local), and the Federal judicial branch does not offer a state version of the software.  Also, PACER is part of an extensive case management system called CM/ECF, which is a required backend to PACER that our local courts don’t have (in other words: you can’t install the front-end PACER system, without the backend plumbing of CM/ECF at the court).

PACER benefited from the federal government having a strong central control over all the federal courts.  This central control enabled decisions and funding to be streamlined.  Michigan’s judicial system is partially decentralized, with local counties and cities having significant say and control over the local courts and how they operate.  The MiFILE project is the result of a lot of hard work and cooperation between Lansing and the local courts.

ImageSoft has reviewed the PACER system, and we understand some of the reasons why Attorneys like it:

  1. Familiarity – after more than 20 years, attorneys and their staff’s are comfortable with it.
  2. Access to Case Records – one of the most popular features of PACER is that it offers public access to the case file (for purchase), which is not something MiFILE currently does.
  3. Consistency – no matter which federal court are accessing, you can use PACER and it works in a familiar way.

Why MiFILE is as good as, or better than PACER

Lessons Learned:
ImageSoft and the State of Michigan have learned some important lessons from PACER that are incorporated into MiFILE.  Familiarity and Consistency is key.  In fact, a core tenet of MiFILE, is that 1 system will be used for all the trial courts in the state.  MiFILE is truly a single system that supports all the trial courts in Michigan.  Whereas PACER has many different systems, MiFILE is one cloud-based system, so your login need only be setup 1 time.

Better Technology:
Technology has changed a lot in the past 20 years, and MiFILE is built on a much more modern architecture that PACER.  MiFILE is truly a cloud-based system.  Using modern cloud technology allows MiFILE to scale much more easily than other systems.  What this means is that MiFILE will have better performance and better protection against downtime.

More Social and Mobile:
Social media and Mobile computing are important trends in the evolution of computers.  Although these trends are still evolving and not all the effects have been positive, we know that these trends have driven computers to be more human-friendly and they’ve allowed people to stay better connected.  MiFILE works from all modern browsers (including smartphones and tablets) and is one of the first e-filing systems to introduce the concept of “connections”.

Connections:
First generation e-filing systems (including earlier versions of TrueFiling – which MiFILE is based on) included the concept of “Law Firms” which has been around for hundreds of years and allows for the grouping of attorneys and their staffs.  This was fine for most situations, but the practice of law in the 21st century is changing and one size does not fit all.  Like many professions, technology is changing the way that people collaborate and the way cases are handled.  The concept of Connections in MiFILE allows one or more people to form a network for the purposes of collaborating on a case.  The people don’t need to be part of the same law firm, or even live in the same geography.  Connections can be used to represent a law firm, and much more.  Stay tuned to see how connections are enhanced in future versions of MiFILE.

Will MiFILE offer access to all cases for download, like PACER?

There are no current plans to allow widespread electronic access to cases in MiFILE.  There are many reasons for this, including:

  1. Care and custody of the case file are primarily the responsibility of the Clerk’s office in Michigan.
  2. As mentioned previously, Michigan’s judicial system is partially decentralized, with local counties and cities having significant say and control over the local courts and how they operate.
  3. Michigan Trial courts handle a lot of very sensitive information, and the security must be strongly considered before opening up access to the Internet.

TrueFiling 3.0 is live!

ImageSoft is proud to announce the release of TrueFiling 3.0 – delivering performance improvements, feature enhancements and a refreshed user interface – all designed to facilitate faster, more efficient electronic filing for Attorneys, pro se filers and court reporters. With this release, TrueFiling is faster and more reliable than ever before leveraging the Microsoft Azure cloud to improve scalability, speed and greater redundancy.

TrueFiling 3.0 is certain to expedite the filing process with valuable timesaving new features including:

• Quick File: Enables users to file without opening the case summary first
• Recent Courts: Selected courts automatically display in a user’s favorite list
• Efficient: Upload multiple documents at once –one at a time is so 2.0
• Intuitive: Simple drag-n-drop feature for uploading and linking documents
• Simple: Add contacts and counsel as service recipients on-the-fly

To learn more about the changes coming to TrueFiling and what it means for filers,  check out our TrueFiling.info site for on demand videos and quick reference material.