Modernizing the Court to Serve Fairfax
Equitable Access to Justice
Chris believes in bringing services directly to our constituents and meeting them where they are by deploying remote processes like online applications and fillable forms that can be accessed on mobile devices. He knows this is possible because he did it in Arlington County in his first year on the job as a Deputy Clerk of the Circuit Court.
A principal duty of the Clerk of the Circuit Court is to guarantee that the doors to the Court remain open to all. The unfortunate reality is that many of our neighbors are not able to access critical services because they are currently required to do so in-person during regular business hours— which often can mean time off work, lost wages, and paying for transportation.
Many people come to the Clerk’s office on very happy days including the day they receive a marriage license, file a deed on their first home, or adopt a child. However, many people are coming to the court and interacting with the Clerk’s office on some of their worst days including loss of a job, eviction, divorce, or loss of a loved one.
Regardless of circumstance, all Clerk’s office staff will treat customers, other courthouse staff, and each other with empathy and respect. Chris will oversee annual customer service training for Clerk staff. Service will also continue to be provided in multiple languages and forms translated whenever possible.
Chris will deliver a secure payment portal that will allow constituents to pay for public records on file with the Clerk of Court and receive certified copies by email, or U.S. mail. Customers will always have the option to go in-person to retrieve and pay for these records.
The most frequently occurring request from customers is a way to obtain copies of public records on file with the Clerk of the Court (e.g., marriage licenses, name change orders, deeds, etc.) and ability to pay with a credit card over the website.
Access to Public Case Information
Day one on the job, Chris will contact the Virginia Supreme Court to start getting the largest jurisdiction in Virginia (Fairfax) onto the free public website that almost all other jurisdictions in Virginia are already using. Chris believes you should not have to go to a courthouse to find out what time your hearing is being held. He will get this public data on the state system and out from behind the paywall.
Presently, parties to cases in Fairfax are not able to log-on to the free site and check case information, including docket sheets of what has been filed, upcoming hearing dates, or courtroom assignments. Parties are required to call the Clerk’s office, or go in-person to review files, OR pay $150 per quarter to view public case files remotely. This is an Access to Justice issue.