Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 17.1. Courts of Record
8/11/2020

Article 4.1. Electronic Filing.

§ 17.1-258.2. Definition.

As used in this article, "electronic filing of documents" means the filing or recordation with a circuit court clerk of written information as defined in § 1-257, for the purpose of creating an electronic record as defined in subdivision 7 of § 59.1-480.

2005, c. 744.

§ 17.1-258.3. Electronic filing in civil or criminal proceedings.

Any clerk of circuit court may establish and operate a system for electronic filing in civil or criminal proceedings that shall be governed by the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia. The circuit court clerk may require each person whom the clerk authorizes to file documents electronically to provide proof of identity to the clerk and to enter into an agreement specifying the electronic filing procedures to be followed, including, but not limited to, security procedures, as defined in the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (§ 59.1-479 et seq.), for transmitting signed or notarized documents. The clerk may charge copy fees per page, as provided in subdivision A 8 of § 17.1-275, and obtain reimbursement for fees paid by subscribers to its designated application service providers for the technology systems used to operate electronic filing in civil and criminal cases in the clerk's office. The fees and reimbursements collected shall be deposited by the clerk into the clerk's nonreverting local fund to be used to cover operational expenses as defined in § 17.1-295. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the clerk from entering into agreements with designated application service providers to provide all or part of the network or system for electronic filing of civil or criminal records as provided herein. Further, nothing herein shall be construed to require the electronic filing of any civil or criminal record, and such records may continue to be filed in paper form.

Any clerk of circuit court with an electronic filing system established in accordance with the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia may charge an additional $5 fee for every civil case initially filed by paper, except that a person who is determined to be indigent pursuant to § 19.2-159 shall be exempt from the payment of such fee. The fee shall be paid to the clerk's office and deposited by the clerk into the clerk's nonreverting local fund to be exclusively used to cover the operational expenses as defined in § 17.1-295.

2005, c. 744; 2008, cc. 823, 833; 2010, cc. 430, 717, 760; 2013, cc. 74, 77; 2014, c. 460; 2015, c. 317.

§ 17.1-258.3:1. Electronic filing of land records; paper form.

A. A clerk of a circuit court may provide a network or system for electronic filing of land records in accordance with the provisions of Article 3 (§ 55.1-346 et seq.) of Chapter 3 of Title 55.1 regarding the satisfaction of mortgages and the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (§ 55.1-661 et seq.). The clerk may require each filer to provide proof of identity to the clerk. The clerk shall enter into an electronic filing agreement with each filer in accordance with Virginia Real Property Electronic Recording Standards established by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the clerk from entering into agreements with designated application service providers to provide all or part of the network or system for electronic filing of land records as provided herein. Further, nothing herein shall be construed to require the electronic filing of any land record, and such records may continue to be filed in paper form.

B. Any clerk of a circuit court with an electronic filing system established in accordance with this section may charge a fee not to exceed $5 per instrument for every land record filed by paper. The fee shall be paid to the clerk's office and deposited by the clerk into the clerk's nonreverting local fund to be used exclusively to cover the operational expenses as defined in § 17.1-295.

C. The clerk shall maintain a disaster plan, as defined in § 42.1-77, for recovery of any land record in possession of the clerk that is maintained as an electronic record.

2008, cc. 823, 833; 2010, c. 430; 2012, c. 234; 2013, c. 77; 2016, c. 264; 2017, cc. 90, 289.

§ 17.1-258.3:2. Official certificates and certified records in digital form.

A clerk of circuit court may establish a system for providing official certificates and certified records in digital form of any document maintained by the clerk. The clerk may require any person to provide proof of identity to the clerk in order to obtain access to such records. The clerk or his designated application service provider may assess an additional fee not to exceed $5 per official certificate accompanying or attesting the certified records, subject to subdivision A 8 of § 17.1-275 and to the exemptions provided in § 17.1-267. The clerk may perform such other notarial acts as allowed under § 47.1-12. The fee shall be paid to the clerk's office and deposited by the clerk into the clerk's nonreverting local fund to be used to cover operational expenses as defined in § 17.1-295. Nothing herein shall be construed to require any person to obtain an electronic certificate of any record maintained by the clerk, and such record may continue to be obtained in paper form. The clerk of the circuit court of any jurisdiction shall be immune from suit arising from any acts or omissions relating to providing official certificates and certified records in digital form of any document maintained by the clerk pursuant to this section unless the clerk was grossly negligent or engaged in willful misconduct.

2010, c. 430; 2011, c. 715; 2013, c. 77.

§ 17.1-258.3:3. Submission of records as electronic documents.

Upon written agreement with the clerk, any agency or instrumentality of the Commonwealth may submit any record to the clerk as an electronic document. The form of electronic submission shall comply with the security and data standards established by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency for any such electronic submission. Any record so submitted shall satisfy any law requiring that a document be an original, be on paper or another tangible medium, or be in writing.

2015, c. 641.

§ 17.1-258.4. Signature; when effective as original; notarization; seal.

A. If the electronically filed document contains an electronic signature pursuant to the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (§ 59.1-479 et seq.) that is capable of independent verification and renders any subsequent changes or modifications to the electronic document evident, any statutory requirement for original signature shall be deemed to be satisfied.

B. Any statutory requirement for a document to be notarized shall be deemed satisfied by the appropriately executed electronic signature of such notary pursuant to the Virginia Notary Act (§ 47.1-1 et seq.).

C. When a seal or stamp is required to be affixed by any court or clerk on a document, the attachment of an official electronic seal or official electronic stamp to the electronic document is sufficient. "Official electronic seal" and "official electronic stamp" mean an electronic image of a seal or stamp, respectively, of the court or clerk, that is produced by software applications authorized by the clerk that are protected by system credentials to which only the clerk or persons authorized by the clerk have access.

2005, c. 744; 2008, cc. 823, 833; 2010, cc. 717, 760; 2013, c. 77.

§ 17.1-258.5. Application.

All documents recorded on or after July 1, 2004 that comply with the provisions of this article shall be conclusively presumed to be in proper form for recording, except in cases of fraud.

2005, c. 744.

§ 17.1-258.6. Acceptability of electronic medium; submission of trial court record to appellate court.

A. In connection with civil or criminal proceedings in circuit court, any statutory requirement for an original, original paper, paper, record, document, facsimile, memorandum, exhibit, certification, or transcript shall be satisfied if such is in an electronic form approved for filing under the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia. However, this section shall not apply to documents the form of which is specified in any statute governing the creation and execution of wills, codicils, testamentary trusts, premarital agreements, and negotiable instruments.

B. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any statutory authorization for the use of copies or reproductions in civil or criminal proceedings in circuit court shall be satisfied by use of such copies or reproductions in hard copy or electronic form approved for filing under the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia.

C. Any clerk of a circuit court with an electronic filing system that complies with the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia may provide the trial court record in electronic form to the appropriate clerk of any appellate court. The clerk of the Supreme Court and the clerk of the Court of Appeals shall accept the official civil or criminal record in electronic form as otherwise required by law. The clerk in the appellate court may also request that any paper trial court records be forwarded to such clerk.

D. The Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia shall not prohibit the use of a private vendor electronic filing system if such system is in compliance with the filing standards established by the Court.

2010, cc. 717, 760; 2015, c. 71; 2018, cc. 125, 129, 523.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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