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Here comes the judge!

The complex of legal jurisdictions has often come under criticism for being slow to adopt technology to replace manual paper processes, but the tide could be turning. One of the final barriers to automation of court proceedings has been the lack of agreed standards for electronic court filings. That stumbling block is disappearing as a result of new draft standards for electronic filing processes proposed by the National Consortium for State Court Automation Standards. They're available at www.ncsconline.org/CourtInfoPortal/search/search1.html.

At the core of the draft standard is a proposal to use Extensible Markup Language for court filings. One of the goals of the XML proposal is to assure that systems mesh so that state and federal courts have the capacity to create a national, integrated network for filing'with compatible functionality, protocols and rules.

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