NCAOC Director Ryan S. Boyce
November 20, 2023
Track 3 eCourts Training Registration and Resources
Dear Colleagues in the Legal Community,
On behalf of the Judicial Branch, we are excited to partner with you in the next phase of modernizing our state court system by launching eCourts Track 3 on February 5, 2024, in twelve (12) counties: Beaufort, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Martin, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington.
This announcement is intended to introduce you to the key information and training resources that legal practitioners need to know for navigating this monumental shift.
As we prepare together for the official launch of eCourts in 12 counties on February 5, 2024, attorneys and other stakeholders may register in advance for Odyssey platforms, access training materials, and sign up for an introduction to eFiling and Portal search through resources provided below. We encourage you to regularly check the eCourts Hub at NCcourts.gov/eCourts. Questions regarding eCourts applications may be sent to email@example.com.
Training Registration and Opportunities
NCAOC is committed to equipping attorneys, paralegals, judicial partners, hospital filers, and others in the public who interact with the courts with information and training for the shift to eCourts, through online resources at NCcourts.gov and live, online, and in-person training sessions. Learn more about these resources and specialized trainings at the following:
- Review user guides, tutorials, and FAQs for eCourts applications.
- Register for online and in-person introductory trainings offered by NCAOC:
- Review changes to the General Rules of Practice related to digital case management.
Register with eCourts Systems
eCourts comprises several enterprise-level software systems that work together to provide integrated case management for courthouse officials and employees as well as electronic access for the public. Some functionality requires users to register for accounts on these systems. For example:
- File & Serve is the system that the public (including attorneys) uses to electronically file documents with the courts. Electronic filing is mandatory for attorneys in Odyssey counties under Rule 5(b)(2) of the General Rules of Practice, and all attorneys will be required to eFile in Track 3 counties beginning Monday, February 5, 2024. However, anyone seeking to file a document through File & Serve must have an account on that system.
- Portal is the system that the public (including attorneys) uses to access filed court records. Although Portal can be used anonymously, confidential case types and certain types of legally protected personal identifying information are not available to the public on Portal. However, individuals with legal authority to access these types of confidential information (such as an attorney of record in a confidential case) can access restricted case types and unredacted versions of public records through an “Elevated Access” Portal account.
To help streamline each user’s transition to eCourts, attorneys and the public are encouraged to ensure that their electronic accounts and registrations are set up and configured before February 5, 2024. Early registration will also allow users to begin exploring these applications before they are required to use them on February 5, 2024. Registration and further information about these resources can be found at the following links:
- Register for File & Serve to explore the eFiling platform in advance.
- Law Firms & Solo Practitioners: A firm administrator (one for each firm) should set up the firm account and invite the individual users (attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants, etc.) to set up their own accounts. From the landing page, the firm administrator can register for their firm account by creating their individual user account credentials and then adding the firm information. Solo Practitioners can serve as their own firm administrator.
- Other Users: Other File & Serve users (self-represented litigants, process servers, pro hac vice attorneys, etc.) can register for an individual account.
- Register for elevated access on Portal to view certain non-public information in cases where you are the attorney of record.
- Confirm an “Address of Record” with the State Bar for service under Rule 5 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. See 1A-1, Rule 5, G.S. 84-39, and G.S. 84-4.1, as amended by S.L. 2023-103. The eCourts system has certain notification features that rely on the Address of Record information imported from the North Carolina State Bar’s new “Court Service Information” registry.
Transition Process Begins the Week Prior to Go-Live
Significant adjustments to courthouse operations will begin in Track 3 counties the week prior to February 5, 2024, to support the transition from paper records to electronic filing and case management.
Due to data integration processes from legacy systems (e.g., VCAP, ACIS, CIPRS) to Odyssey, attorneys in Track 3 counties should prepare for the following:
- For cases filed in Track 3 counties, legacy systems will go into “inquiry only” mode on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at 7:00 p.m. while data is migrated from the legacy mainframe databases to Odyssey. During this time, all users will be able to access information in Track 3 counties’ cases using legacy systems, but the information will only be current through Wednesday, January 31, 2024.
- Once Odyssey is released on February 5, 2024, legacy systems will be decommissioned for both inquiry and update to Track 3 counties’ cases. From that point forward, the public will use Odyssey Portal instead of legacy systems to access indexes, abstracted case information, and case documents for cases in Track 3 counties. Court documents existing in paper on the date of go-live will still be available in paper form in the Clerk’s office. For counties that have not implemented Odyssey, legacy systems will remain available and updated, with one exception: for a judgment transcribed from an Odyssey county to a non-Odyssey county, both VCAP (in the receiving, non-Odyssey county) and Odyssey Portal (in the originating, Odyssey county) will need to be used to search information and updates related to the original judgment.
- Paper filings received by Track 3 counties Clerks’ offices during the migration period will be manually file-stamped (as they are currently) upon receipt and available in the Clerk’s office, but not yet indexed in Odyssey.
- Clerks will enter into Odyssey paper filings received by the Track 3 counties’ Clerks of Superior Court during the migration period starting on February 5, 2024. Paper filings will be file-stamped as of the date actually filed, but they will be indexed on the Index to Judgments as of the date they are entered into Odyssey. Thus, in Track 3 counties, nothing will be indexed during the migration period. For this reason, there will be a delay in indexing and the availability of these filings on the public Odyssey Portal. Attorneys and paralegals may not want to schedule real estate closings in Track 3 counties on February 1-2, 2024.
- Track 3 Clerks’ offices will announce publicly when all filings received during the transition period of data migration have been indexed in Odyssey and are available in Odyssey Portal. Until that announcement is made, you should contact the Clerk’s office to determine how to access documents filed during the migration period.
- Upon the release of Odyssey on February 5, 2024, Track 3 Clerks of Superior Court will begin to scan and enter into Odyssey paper filings received from non-attorneys on and after the Odyssey release.
Again, the Judicial Branch is excited for eCourts to launch in Track 3, and we remain committed to making this monumental transition as seamless as possible for all involved. For any eCourts application questions, please visit the eCourts hub at NCcourts.gov/eCourts or email eCourts@nccourts.org.
On behalf of the Judicial Branch, thank you for your support of the eCourts initiative and for your service to North Carolina’s legal community.
Ryan S. Boyce
N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts