The Clerk's Office Goes Green with Less Paper in the Courtroom

Image of green binary code and a gavel. The Clerk's Office Goes Green with Less Paper in the Courtroom

The Orange County Clerk’s Office has reached another green milestone in its quest to move toward a more paperless environment. In August 2017, all courtrooms went file-less after 9th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Frederick Lauten gave final approval following a series of pilots to work out process issues.

“Efficiencies in court should improve with time,” said Clerk Tiffany Moore Russell. “Judges will no longer need to flip through pages and pages of documents.”

The Clerk’s Office less paper initiative is the result of a long standing partnership with the 9th Judicial Circuit and is a huge step forward to reduce paper in courtrooms.

During Phase I of our less paper initiative which was October 2015, the Clerk’s Office stopped printing paper from the state’s E-portal system which provides for electronic filing of case documents leading to less paper usage. From 2010 to 2016, we reduced our annual paper usage by 2,160,000 sheets, which equals a cost savings of nearly $17,000 a year.

Also of great importance is the positive ecological impact. Per Susan Kinsella, Executive Director of Conservatree, which is a nonprofit catalyst and advocate for ecologically sustainable paper markets, one tree makes 8,333 sheets of copy paper. Using that calculation, we have already saved 1554 trees over the last six years and will continue to save at least an additional 259 trees each year on this single initiative.

Now all those electronic documents won’t need to be printed and made into paper files and then carted into and out of court each day. The Clerk’s Office will also no longer pull files to send to Judges’ chambers when additional paper pleadings are submitted. Any paper pleadings received will be delivered to the judge, but the associated court files will not.