Input Sought on Possibility of Publishing Electronic Appellate Opinions

The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court, along with the Court's Reporter of Decisions, are beginning to consider whether the reports of the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court should be published only in electronic, rather than print, form perhaps as soon as in July 2019. We recognize that there are a number of factors to be examined before making this decision, and that if a decision to proceed electronically is made, additional issues regarding implementation will need to be considered. We also recognize that it will be necessary to work with the Legislature and others regarding any such change in the  publication of the official reports.   

In beginning this process, we have the benefit of the experience of other states that have switched to publishing their reports electronically, including Arkansas, Illinois, and Nebraska.  Nebraska's conversion to electronic publication was the most recent, and information on its process can be found online here: https://web.archive.org/web/20161107040159/https:/supremecourt.nebraska.gov/sites/supremecourt.ne.gov/files/misc/newsletter/opinions-digital-TNL.pdf.  

The results of Nebraska's process can be viewed at https://www.nebraska.gov/apps-courts-epub/public/.  

As part of our exploration of publishing our official reports electronically, we wish to learn the anticipated impact of such a change on populations who may have limited access to the Internet or little experience in using the Internet. We would like to hear from as many as possible on the effect that a conversion to electronic publication would have on access to our reports and, consequently, access to justice.  

We invite you to provide your comments on this access issue at a listening session to be held in the Seven Justice Courtroom (Courtroom 1) at the John Adams Courthouse on Monday, June 26, 2017, at 4:00 p.m. If you are unable to attend the listening session, we welcome your written comments, which may be submitted to Christine Burak, Esq., by email at christine.burak@jud.state.ma.us, or by U.S. Mail (Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, Massachusetts 02108) by July 31, 2017.