Electronic Dockets: Use of Information Technology in Rulemaking and Adjudication

Report to the

Administrative Conference of the United States

October 19, 1995

Henry H. Perritt, Jr.
Professor of Law
Villanova University School of Law
Villanova, PA 19085
(610) 519-7078 voice
(610) 519-7033 fax

Table of contents


I. Executive summary

II. Introduction

III. Technological context

A. Networks

1. Local area networks
2. Wide area networks

B. Acquisition of information

1. From electronic submissions
2. From paper submissions
3. From non-text electronic submissions

C. Storage

D. Retrieval and presentation to agency personnel

E. Digital signatures

F. Public access

IV. NRC Systems

A. Introduction

B. Rulemaking Initiative

C. Adjudication Initiatives

V. DOT Docket Management System

VI. State and federal court models

VII. Policy context

A. ACUS Recommendation 88-10

B. Archiving policy

C. Report on Public Information in the National Information Infrastructure


E. OMB Circular A-130

VIII. Legal issues and conclusions


1. Federal Register notice of proposed rulemaking
2. Accommodating persons who claim an inability to participate electronically?
3. Intervenor financing

B. Alternative dispute resolution

C. The record for judicial review

1. What should be excluded from the rulemaking "record?"
2. Admissibility
3. Certification of records
4. Proving reliability
5. Handling real evidence

D. Authentication

1. Signatures
2. FDA Digital Signature Rule
3. Notarization

E. Public access

2. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
3. Public access philosophies
4. Federal Advisory Committee Act

F. Confidentiality

1. Privacy Act
2. Trade secrets and confidential commercial information

G. Copyright material in submissions

IX. Policy and technology choices

A. Policy and technology issues

1. Public access technologies

2. Open versus closed systems

3. Currency of system information

4. Limiting paper filings

5. Image-based v. character-based systems

6. EDI

7. Standards: Vendor neutral citation system

8. Archival formats

9. A "GIFS": finding where to file

X. Recommendations