Delaware Public Media

It's now easier to file civil cases against someone out of state

Jan 3, 2019

Delaware’s Justice of the Peace Court has gone digital with one of its filing processes.


In the past, a person filing a civil case against someone living out-of-state would have to make a trip to the Justice of the Peace. This is typical for wage garnishment and debt cases.

The filer would deliver hard-copy paperwork along with a handwritten check made out to the Secretary of State. The check and paperwork would then be mailed to the Dover court where a constable would hand deliver the documents to the Secretary of State’s office.

The whole process can now be done online.

The Court’s Management Analyst Curt Bandle says not only does it save filers the trip to the court but will also save the court about 600 hours of work a year.

“It’s almost like getting an extra employee for four months,” said Bandle.

The court was able to remove the bottleneck using the Secretary of State’s existing online system to process paperwork and the fee.

Bandle says the biggest stumbling block was figuring out how to accept digital payments from filers and transfer the money to the State Department. The rest, he says, was easy.

“So we didn’t have to invent anything new,” said Bandle. “We only had to streamline our system here and take advantage of a system that already existed.”

Bandle says the move will save tax dollars and the court is looking for more opportunities to turn some of its other paper-intensive processes digital.