NMI Judiciary introduces online filing via e-recorder
The CNMI Judiciary’s newest technological innovation—an e-recording system that allow the online submission of legal documents—took centerstage in last Tuesday’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting.
Private company Turnkey Solutions and a representative of the NMI Judiciary highlighted the launching of the e-recorder and how the service will benefit both the Judiciary and community.
Turnkey Solutions’ William Richard “Billy” Grow and company consultant Joe Guerrero, along with Commonwealth recorder Kelsey Aldan, said the e-recorder was provided to the CNMI Judiciary through a partnership with U.S.-based Trimin Systems and local provider TurnKey Solutions.
E-recorders not only make the process of recording and filing documents easier, but it will also be more convenient to access, they said.
Grow explained that through the system, the Commonwealth recorder for the judiciary is able to process it all from the computer in just a few minutes. “You can now file online, land records, marriage certificates, and maps, UCC-1’s, UCC-2’s all communally online,” he said, adding that payments can also be paid online.
Not only will the e-recorder be user-friendly, but it will also accommodate individuals speaking the various languages in the CNMI, include secure credit card payment, and along with a convenient 24/7 submission of e-files. That makes e-recording quicker and a more efficient process.
Access to documents is divided into three phases, with the first phase now in place, giving an individual the ability to view recorded documents through in-house, self-service kiosks. Phase 2, which was estimated to take place this month, gives limited but online access to recorded documents to individuals, while Phase 3, estimated to be in place by the end of 2023, will give online access to all recorded documents for all years.
When asked whether or not the electronic system will be able to detect fraudulent items or errors, Aldan said, “Basically what the recorder under the statute is responsible doing is accepting all filings as long as they comply with all the statutory requirements.”
Aldan explained that the electronic process doesn’t differ much from the original process, and the recorder may accept or reject filings based on whether or not statutory requirements are met or not. “So if there is an issue of fraud, which is concerning for a lot of business people around the community, that will still be processed through the normal process. As anyone would normally do, if there is a conflict, that is to contact the attorney general or file a lawsuit…”
“Whether a person comes in-person to file something or through the recorder’s office, the issue of fraudulence will always be present, and that is something that is very hard to detect …” Aldan said. “We are working with Trimin and Turnkey to put more measures in place to prevent any kind of breach or fraudulent activity…”
Trimin Systems, one of the first e-recording service and software provider in the U.S., partnered with Turnkey Solutions and worked to bring this technology to the NMI Judiciary, which, as Guerrero explained, wanted to modernize and digitize their services, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guerrero explained that many businesses, like banks and attorney’s offices, file a lot of documents—sometimes on a daily basis—”so it takes a lot of time for their staff. Also considering gas, you know, going down from the office—so now their staff love it because they can do it all online.”
“When you record, once its recorded and reviewed by the recorder’s office, they would return your copy, a stamped copy via email. That’s your digital copy, so you don’t really need a paper copy anymore. So even your land records, you don’t need to get a paper copy and put it in your filing cabinet at home or safe. It’s all stored electronically, so in the future if you ever lose your document, you can still go to the courthouse and get an electronic copy, but they won’t have a paper copy.” Guerrero said, adding that it is pretty fraud-proof. “Yes, it’s secure. No one can just go in and manipulate documents.”
After the presentation, the Rotary Club also welcomed new member Wilfredo Ching.