Notification of Continuance/Settlement Forms - San Diego Superior Court

Family Law icon Project Name: Notification of Continuance/Settlement Forms (Google Notification Forms)
Court: San Diego Superior Court
   Documents: Problem Description
   Links: Online Form
    Sample Response Spreadsheet

Overview/Program Description:

The court's Family Division is utilizing a new online system called "Notification of Continuance/Settlement." Instead of phoning, family law attorneys/parties can go online and use a webform to alert the court clerk that one or both of the parties with an upcoming hearing will be requesting a continuance or have reached a settlement. The webform was created using Google Forms and is accessible by computer, tablet, smart phone, etc., 24 hours a day. When the attorney/party submits the webform online to the court, they are also required to print out the content of the request/notification and send it to opposing counsel or the opposing self-represented litigant as soon as possible.

Once the webform is submitted online, the information cannot be edited or viewed by the requestor. The information is automatically transferred to a corresponding Google Spreadsheet and a notification is sent by e-mail to let clerks know there is a request to review. The spreadsheet is accessible by multiple clerks and the clerks can contact the requesting party and let them know the outcome of the request. All parties must appear at the hearing unless specifically and affirmatively advised otherwise by the court.

Program Benefits/Savings:

This program has been beneficial for both the court and the attorneys/parties that have utilized it. Clerks find that their time is spent more efficiently. Attorneys/parties are able to reach the court 24 hours a day online, instead of only 3 hours a day when the public phone lines are open. This allows the clerks to process the requests throughout the work day instead of only fielding calls during a very small window. In addition, the calendar is easier to manage since the spreadsheets are accessible by multiple clerks. There are fewer clerical handoffs and fewer phone contacts with attorneys/parties.

Judicial officers also find that this helps prevent them from reviewing paperwork when attorneys/parties know they will be requesting a continuance or notifying the court of a settlement, allowing a judicial officer more time to focus on the cases that he or she will actually hear for that calendar.