Pierce County District Court has unveiled an innovative new way for customers to access court services online.
Citizens who wish to file a small claims case can now use District Court’s web-based Small Claims Kiosk application. Developed by District Court with support from Pierce County’s Information Technology Division, this application allows customers to answer a series of interview questions and submit a petition online. Over the past month, fifty court customers have submitted small claim petitions using this new service.
“Pierce County District Court is very pleased to offer this new way of doing business that makes it easier to access the court’s services,” said District Court Presiding Judge Maggie Ross. “This will benefit everyone involved – the public, the county and the court.”
Besides making it much easier for court customers to access these essential court services, the web-based application is expected to reduce the court’s substantial foot and phone traffic. In 2014, there were 1,700 small claim petitions filed in District Court. Each petition is set for a mediation hearing. If the parties are unable to reach a mutually agreed settlement, the case is then set for trial. Of the 1,700 filings, 400 were set for trial.
District Court is one of the first courts of limited jurisdiction in Washington State and one of a handful in the country to introduce this unique service. In addition, District Court customers are now able to reach the court’s customer service staff via online Live Chat. Since early January, over 1,000 customers have been served via Live Chat as an alternative to telephone or appearing in person at the court’s public counter.
Visit www.piercecountywa.org/smallclaims for more information. Those without access to a computer can access the software via a physical kiosk located at Pierce County’s law library. Watch a Pierce County News video about the Small Claims Kiosk application to learn more.