AR Supreme Court Opinion In RE Administrative Order No. 21

Legal Case

State: Arkansas
Signed: June 17, 2010

Effective: July 01, 2010
Chapter: N/A


In Rule 2010 Ark. 304, the Supreme Court of Arkansas opens the door to electronic filing of documents in the state’s courts. While the rule allows documents to be signed electronically, it does not allow Notaries to execute electronic notarizations. Any document required by law to be notarized must be signed and notarized conventionally (on paper) and then scanned prior to submission to the court.


Rules of the courts in Arkansas

  1. Permits filings to be made to Arkansas’ courts electronically.
  2. Initiates a one-year transition period for courts that adopt e-filings.
  3. Requires all case-initiating documents to be filed conventionally (on paper).
  4. With regard to documents that must be notarized, requires the documents to be notarized on paper and then scanned for filing with the court electronically.

The Supreme Court of Arkansas on June 17, 2010, published a court rule permitting the state’s courts to adopt e-filing. The rule does not require courts to transition to e-filing, but creates a one-year transition period for the courts that do. While Arkansas has enacted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), Sections 25-32-117 and 118 stipulate that each state agency must decide whether to accept electronic records for filing. Thus, this court rule was necessary for the courts in Arkansas to move forward with electronic records and signatures. Section 8 of the rule permits electronic signatures on electronic documents filed with a court. An electronic signature can be a typed name, facsimile, typographical or digital signature. Section 8(b) states that all documents that are required to be notarized must be signed and notarized conventionally (on paper). After the documents are executed, they then may be submitted electronically to the court. That is, they can be scanned and then submitted. We wish the Supreme Court would have allowed electronic notarization of documents that are e-filed with the courts, but it appears that it was not ready to do so. The court rule demonstrates that while electronic transactions are becoming more and more widespread, there is still diffidence with respect to the role that Notaries will play in these transactions. In the introduction to the rule, the Court says that it anticipates modifying the rule in the future based upon its experience with e-filings. Hopefully the bench and bar will recommend allowing documents to be created, signed, notarized and then filed electronically very soon. 

Read the text of the opinion.