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Circuit Court District Division Rules Table of Contents

RULES OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE -- DISTRICT DIVISION

SMALL CLAIMS ELECTRONIC FILING PILOT RULES

PREAMBLE

Pursuant to the authority conferred by Part II, Article 73-a of the New Hampshire Constitution, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire hereby adopts on a temporary basis the attached New Hampshire Circuit Court – District Division Small Claims Electronic Filing Pilot Rules. These rules shall take effect in a particular district division location as of the date set forth in an administrative order by the administrative judge of the circuit court implementing small claims e-filing in the circuit court – district division in a particular location, and shall apply on a pilot basis to small claims actions in the circuit court – district division in those locations. For a list of the locations in which electronic filing will be, or has been, implemented and a link to the relevant orders see http://www.courts.state.nh.us/circuitcourt/efilingcourts.htm.

NOTE: The rules as published herein are subject to revisions promulgated from time to time by the New Hampshire Supreme Court and published in the New Hampshire Bar News. See Supreme Court Rules 1 and 51.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I.  General Provisions

1.  Scope and Effective Date of Rules

2.  Definitions

3.  Official Court Record

4.  Relationship to Other Rules

5.  Registration Requirements

 

II.  Filing Documents

6.  Filing: Time of Filing and Effect of Technical Problems

a.  Manner of Filing - General

b.  Manner of Filing – Special Cases

c.  Time of Filing and Effect of Technical Problems

7.  Document and Other Item Submission

a.  Methods of Submitting Documents for Electronic Filing

b.  Format of Documents Filed Electronically

c.  Format of Documents Filed Conventionally

d.  Original Documents and Other Paper Documents that were not Prepared for Electronic Filing

e.  Attachments to Filings and Exhibits

f.  Documents Submitted For In Camera Review

8.  Signatures on Filings

a.  Original Document Deemed Signed

b.  When Multiple Signatures Are Required

9.  Signatures on Court-Issued Electronic Documents

10.  Notarized Signatures on Filings (Notarial Acts)

11.  Filing A Document Which Is Entirely Confidential

12.  Filing A Document Which Contains Confidential Information

13.  Motions to Seal

 

III.  Service of Documents

14.  Formal Service of Process

15.  Electronic Service of Documents

I. General Provisions

Rule 1. Scope and Effective Date of Rules

(a)  Effective Date and Applicability of Rules. These rules shall govern the electronic filing of all documents in small claims cases commenced on and after the date specified in an order issued by the administrative judge of the circuit court implementing small claims e-filing in the circuit court – district division in a particular district division location. These rules shall also govern the filing of all documents in small claims cases in the circuit court – district division converted to electronic filing in accordance with paragraph (c). As good cause appears and as justice may require, the court may waive the application of any rule.

(b)  Electronic Filing Mandatory. Unless otherwise required or authorized by these rules or an order of the court, all filings in cases commenced on or after these rules become effective in small claims cases in a particular circuit court – district division location shall be filed using the court's electronic filing system, except:

(1)  Upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances, the court may fully excuse a party from electronic filing. Such requests shall not ordinarily be granted. The court must find extraordinary circumstances that render electronic filing such a hardship that the party would be denied access to the court. A party seeking to be excused from the mandate of electronic filing shall file a request with the court setting forth the reasons therefor. A party who is fully excused from the mandate of electronic filing shall file documents conventionally and shall deliver and receive copies of filed documents to and from other parties through conventional non-electronic means.

(2)  For good cause, the court may permit a limited exception to the mandate of electronic filing by allowing a party to initiate a case conventionally or by allowing a party or other person to file a document in an existing case conventionally.

(c)  Cases Pending Prior to Effective Date. Cases pending prior to the effective date of these rules in a particular court location or prior to the initiation of electronic filing in a court or case type shall not be subject to the requirements of these rules and shall not be accepted for electronic filing. Filings in such non-electronic cases shall continue to be made conventionally. However, a party may file a written motion with the court to request to convert a non-electronic case to an electronic case. If the court grants the motion, the case will thereafter be governed by these rules. Following an order for conversion of the non-electronic case to an electronic case, it shall be the responsibility of the parties to ensure that filings after the conversion date comply with all provisions of these rules.

Rule 2. Definitions

(a)  “Conventionally,” with respect to the filing of documents, means the filing of documents with the court in paper. With respect to providing copies of court documents and filed documents to a party, “conventionally” means the provision of copies through the mail or through other non-electronic means.

(b)  “Document” means any written matter filed by or with the court, whether filed conventionally or electronically, including, but not limited to, motions, pleadings, applications, petitions, notices, declarations, affidavits, exhibits, briefs, memoranda of law, orders and deposition transcripts.

(c)  “Filer” or “Registered Filer” means a person registered with the electronic filing system who submits a document for filing with the court.

(d)  “Electronic Filing” means the process whereby a filer electronically submits to a court a document in electronic form to initiate an action or to file a document in an existing case.

(e)  “Electronic service address” of a party means the electronic mail (“email”) address at or through which the party shall receive electronic service.

(f)  “Electronic service” means the electronic transmission of a notification by the electronic filing system to the electronic mail (“email”) address of a party who has consented to electronic service by registering as a filer. The electronic filing system's electronic notification will be used for the transmission of court notices, court orders, and filings by parties, and will contain a hyperlink or other means to access a document that was filed or issued electronically for the purpose of accomplishing service. Documents that require personal service or other formal service of process to confer jurisdiction over a party as a matter of law may not be served electronically.

(g)  “Electronic Signature” is a signature, other than an inked signature, as authorized by these rules.

(h)  “Non-electronic signature” is an inked signature.

(i)  “Original,” as used in these rules to refer to original documents, shall have the same meaning as provided in Rule 1001 of the New Hampshire Rules of Evidence.

Rule 3. Official Court Record

(a)  The official court record for a case filed or maintained in accordance with these rules shall be the electronic case file maintained by the court, as well as any paper filings and other conventional filings maintained by the court in accordance with these rules.

(b)  If a court digitizes, records, scans or otherwise reproduces a document that is filed in paper into an electronic record, document or image for entry in the court's case file, the court's electronic record, document or image is the official court record of the filed document. Unless otherwise provided in these rules or by court order, the conventionally filed paper document will not be maintained or retained by the court after the court digitizes, records, scans or otherwise reproduces the document into an electronic record, document or image.

Rule 4. Relationship to Other Rules

  Insofar as these rules conflict with any other existing rules of the circuit court - district division which pertain to small claims, these rules shall supersede such existing rules. All other existing rules of the circuit court - district division shall remain in full force and effect.

Rule 5. Registration Requirements

(a)  Registration. To initiate cases and to file documents in the court's electronic filing system, a person must first become a registered filer by completing an online registration, providing a username and password to access the electronic filing system, and accepting the conditions of electronic filing, including those set forth in the “Responsibilities of Registered Filer” section of this rule.

(b)  Responsibilities of Registered Filer

(1)  A registered filer is responsible for all documents that are filed via the registered filer's username and password. A registered filer shall not knowingly cause or permit the registered filer's login information to be used by another person.

(2)  Any electronic filing, downloading or viewing of an electronic file made by use of a username and password shall be deemed to be made with the authorization of the person registered to use the login information.

(3)  If login information is misappropriated, misused or compromised in any way, the person registered to use that login information must promptly notify the court.

(4)  For good cause, the court may issue an order prohibiting a filer from filing electronically in a particular case.

(5)  A registered filer must maintain an email address during the pendency of the case at which the registered filer consents to receive and agrees to accept notices and orders from the court and copies of documents from other registered filers through the electronic filing system. Whenever notice or provision of copies to a party is required, notice or provision of copies to the last email address on file shall be deemed to satisfy the requirement, and shall be binding on the party.

(6)  All registered filers shall maintain accurate contact information during the pendency of the case.

II. Filing Documents

Rule 6. Filing: Time of Filing and Effect of Technical Problems

(a)  Manner of Filing – General

(1)  A case, other than a case filed ex parte or a case in which a party pays the filing fee at the court, shall be considered initiated and filed with the court when:

(A) the case-initiating document has been electronically submitted to the court's electronic filing system;

(B) the filing fee, if applicable, has been paid electronically, or a properly supported motion to waive the filing fee has been submitted; and

(C) the submission has been acknowledged as received by the court's electronic filing system.

(2)  A document, other than a document filed ex parte or a document for which the filing party pays the filing fee at the court, shall be considered filed when:

(A) it has been electronically submitted to the court's electronic filing system;

(B) the filing fee, if applicable, has been paid electronically or a properly supported motion to waive the filing fee has been submitted; and

(C) the submission has been acknowledged as received by the court's electronic filing system.

(3)  Emailing or faxing documents shall not constitute “filing” with the court.

(b)  Manner of Filing – Special Cases

(1)  Cases or documents filed ex parte. When case-initiation or other documents are filed ex parte, the filer shall file the documents electronically, and must also physically appear at the court where the matter will be heard to complete the filing process. No ex parte submission shall be considered complete until the filer physically appears at the court. Failure to appear at the court within five (5) business days of the electronic filing may cause the ex parte submission to be purged from the electronic filing system.

(2)  Cases or documents for which the filing party will mail the filing fee or pay the filing fee at court. When fees for case initiation or other documents are not paid online and instead are paid through U.S. mail or at court, the filer shall pay in person at the court where the matter will be heard or mail the filing fee to the address specified by the court, to complete the filing process. No submission shall be considered complete until the fee is paid. Failure to pay the filing fee within five (5) business days of the electronic filing may cause the submission to be purged from the electronic filing system. Filers may pay at the court with cash, check or credit card or through the U.S. mail by check.

(c)  Time of Filing and Effect of Technical Problems

(1)  An electronic filing may be made any day of the week, including weekends and holidays, and at any time of day that the electronic filing system is available. The expansive availability of the electronic filing system shall not affect the provisions for computation and extension of time set forth by statute or court rule.

(2)  A document is timely filed if it is filed before midnight on the date the filing is due. If a filer encounters technical problems when attempting to make an electronic submission, the following rules apply.

(A)  If a technical problem with the court's electronic filing system prevents the court from receiving an electronic submission on a particular court day, and the electronic filer: (a) demonstrates that he or she attempted to electronically file the document on that day; and (b) electronically submits the document on the first court business day that the technical problem no longer exists, the court will deem the document as having been received on the day that the technical problem prevented the filer's submission.

(B) Technical problems on the filer's end, including but not limited to phone line problems, problems with the filer's internet service, or problems with the filer's hardware or software, will not constitute a technical failure under these rules and will not excuse an untimely filing, unless the court orders otherwise.

(3)  A party who files a document within 48 hours prior to a court proceeding must comply with Rule 15, regarding service of the document, and must also bring paper copies of the document for delivery to other parties during the court proceeding.

(4)  A party who files a document during a court proceeding must bring paper copies of the document for delivery to other parties during the court proceeding.

(5)  If the clerk discovers an error or defect in a filer's electronic submission of a document, the clerk may notify the filer of the error or defect, identify corrective actions to be taken by the filer, and establish a date by which the filer must correct the error or defect. The failure of a filer to correct the error or defect by that date may result in action adverse to the filer.

Rule 7. Document and Other Item Submission

  (a)  Methods of Submitting Documents for Electronic Filing. A filer may select one of the following methods to submit a document for filing through the electronic filing system, unless the type of document requires that it be submitted in only one of the following ways:

(1)  System-generated document. The filer completes a guided interview, questionnaire or prompts through the electronic filing system, and the system then generates a document for filing based on the responses and information provided by the filer.

(2)  Court-created form. The filer completes a court-created form and uploads the completed document to the electronic filing system.

(3)  Party-created document. The filer creates a document for filing and uploads the completed document to the electronic filing system.

(4)  Exhibits and attachments to a system-generated document, or to a completed court-created form, or to a party-created document. If the exhibit or attachment is a document newly prepared for filing, the filer prepares and submits the document using methods (1), (2), or (3), as applicable. If the exhibit or attachment is a preexisting document not newly prepared for filing, the filer scans and uploads the document to the electronic filing system.

(b)  Format of Documents Filed Electronically

(1)  All documents must be in Portable Document (PDF) non-editable format;

(2)  Hyperlinks and other electronic navigational aids may be included in an electronically filed document as an aid to the court. Each hyperlink must contain a text reference to the target of the link. Although hyperlinks may be included in a document as an aid to the court, the material referred to by the hyperlinks is not considered part of the official record or filing unless already part of the record in the case. Hyperlinks may be used to provide an electronic link to other portions of the same document or other portions of the court file. Hyperlinks to cited authority may not replace standard citation format for constitutional citations, statutes, cases, rules or other similarly cited materials.

(c)  Format of Documents Filed Conventionally. If a paper document is conventionally submitted to the court for filing, scanning and entry into the court's electronic case file, the document must be printed on one side, must be logically organized, and must be delivered to the court with no tabs, staples or permanent clips.

(d)  Original Documents and Other Paper Documents That Were Not Prepared for Electronic Filing

(1)  When a statute, court rule, or other law requires the filing of an original, as opposed to a duplicate copy, of a will, a negotiable instrument or other document (see, e.g., Rule 1001 et seq. of the New Hampshire Rules of Evidence), the filer shall scan the original document and file the scanned document through the electronic filing system. The filer's submission of the scanned document shall be deemed a certification by the filer that the document scanned and filed is the original. The filer shall retain the original document for a period of no less than two years or until the conclusion of the case (including any applicable appeal period), whichever is later. Upon the order of the court, the filer shall immediately deliver the original document to the court or any other party for inspection.

(2)  For any other preexisting paper document, including a document containing a non-electronic signature (e.g., an affidavit from a prior proceeding, an offer letter, or a written cost estimate), the filer must scan the document before it is filed electronically. The filer's submission of the scanned document shall be deemed a certification by the filer that the document scanned is the original or a duplicate copy.

(e)  Attachments to Filings and Exhibits

(1)  An attachment or exhibit that exceeds the technical standards for the electronic filing system or is unable to be electronically filed must be filed with the court on CD or DVD only. When an attachment or exhibit is filed on approved media, a notice of exhibit attachment shall be filed through the electronic filing system.

(2)  Attachments and exhibits that cannot reasonably be filed in an electronically converted or scanned PDF format, such as bulky attachments, physical exhibits, and demonstrative evidence, shall be conventionally filed.

(3)  Attachments and exhibits that are in electronic format must meet the requirements specified in the Electronic Filing User Guide.

(4)  Proposed trial exhibits may be, but are not required to be, submitted electronically in small claims cases. However, if directed by the court to do so, and by the deadline set by the court, parties shall submit proposed exhibits electronically prior to the trial or hearing in which the party intends to offer the exhibits for admission. To the extent that any proposed exhibit is confidential as defined in Rule 11(c), the filing party shall follow the procedures set forth in Rule 11. To the extent that any proposed exhibit contains confidential information, as defined in Rule 12(c), the filing party shall follow the procedures set forth in Rule 12(f).

(5)  Proposed trial exhibits shall be available only to the parties to the case and their counsel; however, once offered into evidence, exhibits are subject to public inspection, unless otherwise excluded from public inspection by statute, court rule or court order. Exhibits offered at trials or hearings that can be maintained in an electronic format shall be maintained electronically for purposes of the official court record.

(f)  Documents Submitted for In Camera Review. All documents submitted for in camera review shall be conventionally filed.

Rule 8. Signatures on Filings

(a)  Original Document Deemed Signed. The electronic submission of a document by a registered filer shall be considered a signed original if:

(1)  The document is electronically signed by the registered filer in either one of the following ways:

(A) the typed symbol /s/ followed by the typed name of the registered filer submitting the document (example: /s/ John Smith); or

(B) a graphic representation of the filer's actual signature; and

(2)  The document including the electronic signature also includes the following information:

(A) name (in addition to name typed as part of electronic signature in section (1));

(B) address;

(C) telephone number (if available);

(D) e-mail address;

(E) law firm (for attorneys only); and

(F) NH Bar Association Identification Number (for attorneys only).

(b)  When Multiple Signatures Are Required.

(1)  When multiple signatures are required on a document, each person named as a signer of the document shall either:

(A) sign in one of the ways a filer signs documents described in (a)(1) above; or

(B) authorize the filer to sign the document on his or her behalf. The filer shall represent having obtained approval to sign for another signer named in the document as follows:

Typed symbol /s/ followed by the typed name of the other signer, followed by, “Signed by [filer's name] with permission of [other signer's name.]”

Example: /s/ Jennifer Jones

Signed by John Smith with permission of Jennifer Jones.

(2)  The electronic signature of each named signer shall be accompanied by the same information required to accompany the filer's electronic signature described above in (a)(2). However, when a document is signed with permission of another named signer, the filer's information shall accompany only the filer's own signature.

(c)  An electronic signature meeting the requirements described above in (a)(1) and (2) shall be considered the functional equivalent to a handwritten signature produced on paper.

(d)  Any party to a case may challenge the authenticity of the signature on an electronically filed document by filing an objection within ten (10) days after discovery that the signature is not authentic.

Rule 9. Signatures on Court-Issued Electronic Documents

(a)  A document requiring a judge's signature shall be deemed signed if it bears one of the following:

(1)  the typed symbol /s/ followed by the typed name of the judge (example: /s/ John Smith); or

(2)  a graphic representation of the judge's signature.

(b)  A document requiring a clerk's signature shall be deemed signed if it bears one of the following:

(1)  the typed symbol /s/ followed by the typed name of the clerk (example /s/ John Smith); or

(2)  a graphic representation of the clerk's signature.

Rule 10. Notarized Signatures on Filings (Notarial Acts)

(a)  A notarial act associated with an electronically filed document must conform to the requirements of notarial acts and signatures provided in RSA 456-B and RSA 294-E.

(b)  The signature of a person who executed an electronically filed document and the signature of a person who performed a notarial act related to such a document must be presented by:

(1)  The typed symbol /s/ followed by the typed name of the signer(s) (example: /s/ John Smith); or

(2)  The graphic representation of each signer's actual signature.

(c)  Any party to a case may challenge the authenticity of the signature of a person who performed a notarial act on a document filed electronically in that case by filing an objection within ten (10) days after discovery that the signature is not authentic.

Comment

  For requirements of notarial acts and signatures on electronic documents, see, especially, RSA 456-B:7 and RSA 294-E:2, VIII, RSA 294-E:9, and RSA 294-E:11.

Rule 11. Filing a Document Which is Entirely Confidential

(a)  The following provisions govern a filing party's obligations when filing a “confidential document” as defined in this rule. These provisions apply to both electronic filings and conventional filings by parties.

(b)  A confidential document shall not be included in a filing if it is neither required for filing nor material to the proceeding. If the confidential document is required or is material to the proceeding, the party must file the document in the manner prescribed by this rule.

(c)  “Confidential documents” means documents that are not to be accessible to the public pursuant to state law, administrative or court rule, court order or case law including, but not limited to, the following:

(1)  Documents relating specifically to small claims cases, such as:

(A) Confidential Information Sheets in district division civil proceedings;

(B) Statements of Assets and Liabilities in district division civil proceedings.

(2)  Documents relating to case types other than small claims cases, such as:

(A) records pertaining to juvenile delinquency, children in need of services proceedings, or abuse/neglect proceedings;

(B) financial affidavits in family law proceedings;

(C) guardian ad litem reports in family law proceedings;

(D) Qualified Domestic Relations Orders in family law proceedings;

(E) Plaintiff and Defendant Information Sheets in domestic violence and stalking proceedings;

(F)  Vital Statistics forms;

(G) personal data sheets;

(H) records pertaining to termination of parental rights proceedings;

(I)  records pertaining to adoption proceedings;

(J)  records pertaining to mental health proceedings;

(K) records of guardianship cases filed under RSA chapter 463, but only to the extent that such records relate to the personal history or circumstances of the minor and the minor's family, see RSA 463:9; and

(L)  information related to competency determinations.

(d)  Confidential documents set forth in this rule shall be filed electronically as follows:

(1)  for confidential documents relating specifically to small claims cases, including the Confidential Information Sheet and Statement of Assets and Liabilities, filers shall select the appropriate name of the document in the filing system;

(2)  for confidential documents from other case types or for other confidential documents set forth above, the filer shall select “Other (Confidential)” in the filing system.

(e)  Confidential documents set forth in this rule that are being filed conventionally by a party excused from the mandate of electronic filing pursuant to Rule 1(b)(1) or (2) shall be clearly identified as “confidential,” but need not be identified as relating specifically to small claims cases or other case types.

(f)  When filing a document that the party believes to be confidential but that is not included on the list in section (c) of this rule, the filing party shall file a motion to seal with the document in accordance with Rule 13.

(g)  When filing a document that is included on the list in section (c) of this rule but that is being filed as an exhibit or an attachment in a proceeding other than the proceeding that makes the document confidential under section (c) of this rule, the filing party shall file a motion to seal the document in accordance with Rule 13.

Comment

  These provisions are intended to ensure that confidential documents are accessible, upon filing, only to the court and its staff, to the parties and their attorneys or the parties' authorized representatives, and to others authorized to perform service of process. Any person or entity not otherwise entitled to access may file a motion or petition to gain access to any sealed or confidential court record. See, e.g., Associated Press v. State of N.H. , 153 N.H. 120 (2005); Petition of Keene Sentinel, 136 N.H. 121 (1992); see also District Division Rule 1.26; Family Division Rule 1.30; Probate Division Rule 169-A; Superior Court Rule (Civil) 203; Superior Court Rule (Criminal) 169-A.

Rule 12. Filing a Document Which Contains Confidential Information

(a)  The following provisions govern a filing party's obligations when filing a document containing “confidential information” as defined in this rule. These provisions apply to both electronic filings and conventional filings by parties. If a document is confidential in its entirety, as defined in Rule 11, the filing party must follow the procedures for filing a confidential document set forth in Rule 11.

(b)  Confidential information shall not be included in a filing if it is neither required for filing nor material to the proceeding. If the confidential information is required or is material to the proceeding, the party must file the information in the manner prescribed by this rule.

(c)  It is the responsibility of the filing party to ensure that confidential information is omitted or redacted from documents before the documents are filed, except when the filing party is completing certain required fields in a system-generated form. See Rule 12(d)(1). It is not the responsibility of the clerk or court staff to review narratives contained within system-generated documents or uploaded documents filed by a party to determine whether appropriate omissions or redactions have been made. Confidential Information” means:

(1)  Information that is not to be accessible to the public pursuant to to state law, administrative or court rule, court order, or case law including, but not limited to, the following:

(A) information that would compromise the confidentiality of juvenile delinquency proceedings, children in need of services proceedings, or abuse/neglect proceedings;

(B) information that would compromise the confidentiality of termination of parental rights proceedings;

(C) information that would compromise the confidentiality of adoption proceedings;

(D) information that would compromise the confidentiality of mental health proceedings.

(2)  information sealed by the court;

(3)  financial information that provides identifying account numbers on specific assets, liabilities, accounts, credit card numbers or Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) of individuals including parties and non-parties;

(4)  the following personal identifying information of a party: social security number, date of birth (except a defendant's date of birth in a criminal case), mother's maiden name, a driver's license number, a fingerprint number, the number of other government-issued identification documents or a health insurance identification number;

(5)  the following personal identifying information of a non-party: social security number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, a driver's license number, a fingerprint number, the number of other government-issued identification documents or a health insurance identification number, street address or telephone number;

(6)  personal identification information included on a warrant;

(7)  information that is not to be accessible to the public pursuant to federal law.

(d)  Filing system-generated forms containing confidential information through the electronic filing system.

  (1)  If the filing party is completing a guided interview or questionnaire or is responding to system-generated questions or prompts (other than those calling for a narrative) through the electronic filing system, the filing party may complete the field and is not responsible for redacting information in that field to ensure its confidentiality. The system-generated forms are designed to comply with these confidentiality rules, and information contained within fields (other than those calling for a narrative) that require the filer to provide confidential information will not be accessible to the public upon filing and instead will, as necessary, automatically populate on a Confidential Information Sheet.

(2)  When completing a field calling for a narrative in a system-generated document, a party shall omit confidential information from the field when the information is not required to be included for filing and is not material to the proceeding.

(3)  If confidential information is required for filing and/or is material to the proceeding and therefore must be included in the narrative, the filer shall, in the circumstances described below, take the following precautions:

(A)  if the information is identified as confidential in Rule 12(c) of these rules, the filer shall:

(i)  complete the narrative in the appropriate text box, omitting the confidential information; and, as prompted by the system,

(ii) provide the narrative including the 12(c) confidential information in a separate text box which will automatically populate on a Confidential Information Sheet.

(B) if the information is information the filer requests that the court deem confidential, but which is not identified as confidential in Rule 12(c), the filer shall:

(i)  complete the narrative in the appropriate text box; and

(ii)  file a motion to seal the narrative. See Rule 13 (“Motions to Seal”).

(C) if the filing contains both Rule 12(c) confidential information and information the filer believes to be confidential but which is not identified as confidential in Rule 12(c), the filer shall:

(i)  complete the narrative in the appropriate text box, omitting the Rule 12(c) confidential information;

(ii)  provide the narrative including the Rule 12(c) confidential information in a separate text box which will automatically populate on a Confidential Information Sheet; and

(iii) file a motion to seal the narrative omitting the Rule 12(c) confidential information but containing the information the filer believes to be confidential. See Rule 13 (“Motions to Seal”).

(e)  Filing Court-Created Forms Containing Confidential Information

(1)  If the filing party is completing a court-created form which will be uploaded and filed electronically or conventionally filed, the filer shall leave blank those sections of the form requesting confidential information set forth in Rule 12(c), and shall file the form with a Confidential Information Sheet containing the confidential information that was left blank on the form.

(2)  When completing a section calling for a narrative in a court-created form, a filing party shall omit confidential information from the section when the information is not required to be included for filing and is not material to the proceeding.

(3)  When confidential information is required for filing and/or is material to the proceeding, and therefore must be included in the narrative in a court-created form, the filer shall, in the circumstances described below, take the following precautions:

(A) If the information is identified as confidential in Rule 12(c) of these rules, the filer shall:

(i)  complete the narrative in the appropriate section of the form, omitting the confidential information; and

(ii)  provide the narrative including the 12(c) confidential information in the appropriate place on the Confidential Information Sheet.

(B) If the information is information the filer requests that the court deem confidential, but is not identified as confidential in Rule 12(c), the filer shall:

(i)  complete the narrative in the appropriate section of the form, and

(ii)  file a motion to seal the narrative. See Rule 13 (“Motions to Seal”).

(C) If the filing contains both Rule 12(c) confidential information and information the filer believes to be confidential but which is not identified as confidential in Rule 12(c), the filer shall:

(i)  complete the narrative in the appropriate section of the form, omitting Rule 12(c) confidential information but including the non-Rule 12(c) information the filer believes to be confidential;

(ii)  provide the narrative including the Rule 12(c) confidential information in the appropriate place on the Confidential Information Sheet; and

(iii)  file a motion to seal the narrative omitting the Rule 12(c) confidential information but containing the information the filer believes to be confidential. See Rule 13 (“Motions to Seal”).

(f)  Filing Uploaded Party-Created Documents or Exhibits or Attachments Containing Confidential Information.

(1)  When a party has created a document for filing, or is filing an exhibit or attachment which will be uploaded and filed electronically or conventionally filed, the filing party shall omit or redact confidential information from the filing when the information is not required to be included for filing and is not material to the proceeding. If none of the confidential information is required or material to the proceeding, the party should file only the version of the document from which the omissions or redactions have been made.

(2)  If confidential information is required for filing and/or is material to the proceeding, and therefore must be included in the document, the filer shall, in the circumstances described below, take the following precautions:

(A) If the information is identified as confidential in Rule 12(c) of these rules, the filer shall:

(i)  omit or redact the confidential information; and

(ii)  provide the text from the document which includes the Rule 12(c) confidential information in the appropriate place on the Confidential Information Sheet.

(B) If the information is information the filer requests that the court deem confidential, but which is not identified as confidential in Rule 12(c), the filer shall file:

(i)  an unredacted version of the document; and

(ii)  a motion to seal the document. See Rule 13 (“Motions to Seal”).

(C) If the filing contains both Rule 12(c) confidential information and information the filer believes to be confidential but which is not identified as confidential in Rule 12(c), the filer shall:

(i)  omit or redact the Rule 12(c) confidential information from the document but include the information the filer believes to be confidential;

(ii)  provide the text from the document which includes the Rule 12(d) confidential information in the appropriate place on the Confidential Information Sheet; and

(iii)  file a motion to seal the document omitting the Rule 12(c) confidential information but containing the information the filer believes to be confidential. See Rule 13 (“Motions to Seal”).

(g)  Sanctions. If a party knowingly files documents that contain or disclose confidential information in violation of these rules, the court may, upon its own motion or that of any other party or affected person, impose sanctions against the filing party.

  Comment

  These provisions are intended to ensure that confidential information contained within documents is accessible, upon filing, only to the court and its staff, to the parties and their attorneys or the parties' authorized representatives, and to others authorized to perform service of process. Any person or entity not otherwise entitled to access may file a motion or petition to gain access to any sealed or confidential court record. See, e.g., Associated Press v. State of N.H., 153 N.H. 120 (2005); Petition of Keene Sentinel, 136 N.H. 121 (1992); see also District Division Rule 1.26; Family Division Rule 1.30; Probate Division Rule 169-A; Superior Court Rule (Civil) 203; Superior Court Rule (Criminal) 169-A.

  Rule 13. Motions to Seal

(a)  A motion to seal a confidential document or an unredacted version of a document containing confidential information shall state the authority for confidentiality, i.e., the statute, administrative order or court rule providing for confidentiality, or the privacy interest or circumstance that requires confidentiality. Upon filing of the motion to seal with the unredacted version of the document, the unredacted version of the document shall be kept confidential pending a ruling on the motion. The court shall review the motion to seal and any objection to the motion to seal that may have been filed and determine whether the unredacted version of the document shall be confidential. An order will be issued setting forth the court's ruling on the motion to seal.

(b)  A party or person with standing may move to seal or redact confidential documents or confidential information that is contained or disclosed in the filing of any other party and may request an immediate order to seal the document pending the court's ruling on the motion.

III. Service of Documents

  Rule 14. Formal Service of Process

(a)  Proof of Formal Service of Process. Documents that require personal service or other formal service of process to confer jurisdiction over a party as a matter of law shall not be served electronically. Whenever a party is required by statute, court rule or court order to file proof of formal service of process, the proof of service document shall be scanned and filed electronically in accordance with the provisions of Rule 7(d) concerning “Original Documents and Other Paper Documents That Were Not Prepared for Electronic Filing.”

(b)  Attestation/Certification of Documents. A document shall be considered properly attested or certified for purposes of service of process or other purpose when:

(1)  The document, with statutory attestation language and bearing an electronic certification stamp approved by the Supreme Court as meeting the requirements for attestation, is electronically transmitted directly from the clerk/deputy clerk to the process server; or

(2)  In limited circumstances as directed by the court, the original paper document is issued by the clerk/deputy clerk bearing the statutory attestation.

Rule 15. Electronic Service of Documents

(a)  “Electronic service” satisfies the requirement that a party provide to all other counsel, or to the opposing party if self-represented, copies of all pleadings filed and communications addressed to the court. See Circuit Court - District Division Rule 1.3-A.

(b)  Acceptance of Electronic Service by Registered Filers; Non-Electronic Service Required to Other Parties.

(1)  Registration as a filer shall constitute consent to acceptance of electronic service of court documents and documents filed by other registered filers in the case. Except as otherwise authorized by these rules, no other form of delivery to a registered filer shall be permitted. When a filer submits a document to the court through the electronic filing system, and one or more other parties to the case or their representatives have registered as filers, the filing party shall cause electronic service through the filing system to be made on each other registered filer by so designating at the time of the filing party's submission.

(2)  A party who has been granted an exception from the mandate of electronic filing shall be provided with paper copies of all court documents and documents filed by other parties in the case. A party who has been granted an exception from the mandate of electronic filing shall provide paper copies of all of his or her filings to the other parties in the case. It shall be the responsibility of the party filing a document to provide a paper copy of the filing to all other parties in accordance with this provision. Provision of paper copies shall continue until the party is no longer excepted from the mandate of electronic filing.

(3)  A party who has not yet registered as a filer shall be provided with paper copies of all court documents and documents filed by other parties in the case. A party who has not yet registered as a filer, and who has requested an exception from the mandate of electronic filing, shall provide paper copies of all of his or her filings to the other parties in the case. It shall be the responsibility of the party filing a document to provide a paper copy of the filing to all other parties in accordance with this provision. Provision of paper copies shall continue until the non-registered party registers.

(c)  Closed Cases. When a case has been closed, all service shall be accomplished as in all other actions at law or as dictated by statute or rule, until the case has been reopened in the electronic filing system. See Rule 14.

(d)  Certificate of Service. A filing party shall state in every document, whether filed electronically or conventionally, that a copy of the document is being timely provided to all other parties in the case. The document shall identify the name of each party receiving a copy of the document through the electronic filing system and the name of each party receiving a paper copy of the document.

(e)  Court-Issued Documents. The electronic filing system will electronically serve any court-issued document to all registered filers entitled to electronic service. Electronic service by the court, through a notification to a registered filer, constitutes service or notice of the document. The clerk shall mail or otherwise conventionally deliver paper copies of court-issued documents to each party who has been granted an exception from the mandate of electronic filing or who has not yet registered as a filer.

(f)  No Contact Orders. Absent a court order to the contrary, a party subject to a no contact order may use electronic service to provide copies of all pleadings filed and communications addressed to the court to the opposing party.

 

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