New Supreme Court rule helps self-represented parties file documents during pandemic

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 7:14 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A new rule from the Kansas Supreme Court is helping self-represented parties file documents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kansas Supreme Court says it adopted a temporary rule on Friday that will help residents that represent themselves in court by allowing them to file documents in a case via mail, fax or dropbox during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Court, the intent of the rule is to establish procedures increasing access to justice while protecting the health and safety of court users, staff and judicial officers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Through this temporary rule, we expand the options available to self-represented parties to file documents in district courts,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “If a courthouse must close to walk-in service as a result of the pandemic, this rule gives options to filing in person, increasing that person’s access to justice.”

The Supreme Court said the rule titled “Temporary Rule: Filing in a District Court by a Self-Represented Litigant” includes provisions to do the following:

  • allow self-represented litigants to file by fax or mail-in all district courts; by courthouse dropbox, if available in the county; or in person, if the courthouse is currently open to walk-in service;
  • identifies how the filing date will be determined;
  • specifies how filing fees may be paid;
  • explains how a document may be filed under seal as well as how to request to seal a document;
  • emphasizes the self-represented litigant filer’s obligation to redact personally identifiable information;
  • requires the self-represented litigant filing a new case to also submit a case filing cover sheet; and
  • requires the court clerk’s office to provide a phone number for self-represented litigants to seek help from court staff under Rule 1402.

The Court said the temporary rule will take effect on Dec. 7 and will remain in effect until rescinded by the Supreme Court.

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