In keeping with eCourt’s goal to simplify court access, the Oregon Judicial Department has created iForms – interactive interview-based forms that can be completed online. Here is what you need to know:
Who Can Use iForms?
iForms are designed for “self-represented filers” (the public). Using Tyler Technology’s Guide & File system, the user proceeds through a self-guided interview process to generate a completed court form.
Are iForms Available for all Case Types?
No. At this time, forms are limited to the following:
- Small Claims – file a small claim or respond to a small claim
- Residential FED-Eviction – file a residential eviction
- Satisfaction of Money Award – court documentation of debt paid
- Renew a FAPA Restraining Order – must have a current Restraining Order
Will Additional iForms be Added in the Future?
Yes. The OJD press release states: “Our next step will be expanding use of these forms into dissolution, child custody, and other family law cases.”
Is There a Fee to Use OJD iForms?
There is no fee to use the forms. Normal circuit court filing fees still apply.
Are iForms Available Now?
Yes – the iForm system is up and running at the Tyler Techology/Odyssey Guide & File site. Originally iForms were scheduled to launch September 21, 2016.
What Languages Are Supported by iForms?
At this time, OJD iForms are only provided in English. To see forms in other languages, the court directs self-represented filers to visit OJD Forms. Information about interpreters is provided on the iForms home page.
Are iForms Restricted to Electronic Filing?
No. Since the forms are designed for self-represented filers (the public), eFiling is voluntary. Once a form is completed, filers can (depending on the form) either eFile the form or print the form and file it themselves at any Oregon circuit court.
Are iForms Really User Friendly?
Filers must have access to a computer, the ability to download and save a personal copy of the iForm, a credit card (for eFiling), or access to a printer (if filing conventionally).
The interview process follows a straightforward format. For each case type, the filer is provided with:
- A statement of purpose or background information about the form.
- A list of the documents and information the filer will need to complete the form.
- Identification of the filer’s party status (For example: “If you are filing the request to renew the restraining order, you are the Petitioner; the person you are asking to restrain is the Respondent. This does not change throughout the case.”)
Filers are also told that court staff cannot give legal advice.
A quick readability check of the small claims complaint page reveals a score of 72.9 on the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Scale. (Text which scores 60 to 80 is considered easy to read.)
Is Technical Support Available for iForm users?
Before entering an interview, filers can access links to FAQs, a quick reference guide, self-help, and a how-to video from the Tyler Technology Guide & File home page.
Do Filers Receive any Form-Specific Help or Guidance on Next Steps?
Form-specific help is provided once the interview process begins. A help panel on the right side of the page gives general guidance, information on where to file, etc.
Instructions for next steps are available to download or print at the end of the interview or on the OJD iForms home page. See the heading “What to do after you file an iForm” on the bottom right.
Can a Filer Start an iForm and Finish it Later?
Yes, but the filer must create a profile first. The filer’s information is saved in “My Interviews.”
A profile can be created before starting an interview by clicking “Welcome” in the top right corner of the iForms home page. From the pull-down menu, select “Register.”
Once the filer has started an interview, two prompts appear above the help panel on the right side of the page: “Sign up to save your work,” and “Already signed up? Log in.”
It stands to reason that eventually all OJD forms will become iForms, including those mandated by the UTCRs. But expect this transformation to happen last, since the primary push is to help self-represented filers. I suspect the transition from PDF to iForm will move left-to-right as listed on the statewide forms page
[All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis]