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Judicial Branch issues new and revised Pandemic Management Orders, modifications to the Rules of Electronic Court Systems and accompanying Administrative Order
December 15, 2020, Portland, Maine. The Maine Judicial Branch is accepting email filings in many case types as set forth in new and revised PMOs. Other PMOs underwent minor revisions. The updated PMOs are: PMO-SJC-2, PMO-SJC-3, PMO-SJC-3A, PMO-SJC-4, PMO-SJC-7, and PMO-SJC-8. The full text of these orders can be found on the Judicial Branch website.
PMO-SJC-3: Effective December 14, all Maine courts began accepting the filing by email of certain documents in all cases, including in civil, criminal, juvenile, family matters, and appellate cases. Email filing is being permitted temporarily as an accommodation for the current pandemic.
Maine District and Superior Courts, and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court are accepting the filing by email of all documents EXCEPT: (1) documents that require a filing fee; (2) documents in post-conviction matters; (3) trial exhibits for remote hearings (with some exceptions); and (4) requests for Preliminary Protection Orders (PPOs) on a weekend, legal holiday or after 3pm on a business day.
PMO-SJC-3 contains detailed requirements for email filings. Areas covered include filing date and docketing; format of documents; subject line, signatures, and notarization; paper originals; service and response deadlines; and rejection of emailed documents. Some response deadlines have been changed and replace deadlines in current court rules.
PMO-SJC-3A: Also effective December 14, Maine courts began accepting the filing by email of documents in protection from abuse and protection from harassment cases EXCEPT for complaints and other motions in protection for harassment cases that require a filing fee.
PMO-SJC-3A also contains detailed requirements for email filings. Areas covered include filing date and docketing; format of documents; electronic signature and notarization; email subject line and cover sheets; paper originals; judicial review of complaints and motions; service of documents and response deadlines; appeals; and rejection of documents. Emailed allowed complaints and documents must be filed by 3pm on a business day in order to be acted upon that day. Documents received after 3pm will be reviewed on the next business day.
PLEASE NOTE: eFiling in the eFileMaine system, now required in most civil matters in Bangor District Court, Penobscot Superior Court, and the Business and Consumer Docket, is distinct from filing documents by email as addressed in PMO-SJC-3 and PMO-SJC-3A. Please see PMO-SJC-3 for more detail.
Other PMOs: The revisions to PMO-SJC-2 allow parties, as well as attorneys, to sign documents electronically. PMO-SJC-4 announces that the February 2021 Maine Bar Exam will be administered remotely. Revisions to PMO-SJC-7 allow a witness testifying remotely to use a virtual background in certain circumstances. Finally, changes to PMO-SJC-8, regarding the waiver of initial appearances and arraignments, require court appointed counsel to confirm the acceptance of the appointment in the letter requesting the waiver.
Rules of Electronic Court Systems (RECS): Modifications reconcile certain provisions with existing court rules and clarify processes relating to ex parte motions. Procedures specific to service for conventional filers are established in conjunction with AO-20-4.
Administrative Order AO-20-4: AO-20-4 supplements RECS to address requirements for service upon and by self-represented parties who use the eFileMaine system during the pendency of proceedings in Maine state courts. It also addresses the requirement for filing of documents subsequent to the initial pleading by self-represented parties who use the eFileMaine.
Contact: Amy Quinlan, Esq., Director of Court Communications
Phone: (207) 822-0716
Email: amy.quinlan@ courts.maine.gov