openEFM is an Open Source, electronic filing manager designed for use by the court system. It is designed to accept XML based documents via http, https, and SOAP interfaces. openEFM then allows court staff to login to the system in order to review the filings. Once the filings have been viewed, payment processing can be done from the server and acceptance or rejection of the filing can occur.
This software is being offered for free to courts in order to foster the advancement of technology in today's court systems. Many court systems have found themselves operating on tight budgets, with little sign of increased funding in the future. This low cost solution paves the way for courts to step into the future of court technology without rearranging the annual budget to incorporate expensive new systems.
One of the most important reasons that Open Source Software is a good fit for an electronic filing solution is that court IT departments face the same challenges of integrating electronic filing solutions. This fact can be leveraged with Open Source. Since the courts are not competing against each other in a traditional economic sense, they have the option of working together and collaborating on solutions. Open Source can help to foster this by creating a community for this collaboration. Indeed collaboration has been one of the foundation principals of Open Source. Open collaboration produces superior solutions.
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