The convenience and efficiency of electronic filing of court documents is on the horizon for Indiana’s trial and appellate courts. The Indiana Supreme Court is ending two centuries of paper filings with the decision to launch statewide e-filing.
“Nearly every aspect of our lives includes electronic documents—stores send receipts via email, banks allow check deposits through a smart phone. Now lawyers and litigants will be able to file court documents electronically. Using this technology, our courts will be more efficient and better able to administer justice without delay,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson explained.
Currently, paper documents are filed with trial court clerks across the state. Appellate documents are not only filed on paper, but are also maintained on a 28 year-old computer system. The Court’s decision to begin statewide e-filing also includes moving the appellate courts onto the Odyssey case management system (which is already used in courts in 48 counties.)
The statewide e-filing system is expected to begin in phases starting in 2015. Indiana citizens and their attorneys will benefit from the convenience and cost savings of e-filing because work can be conducted over the Internet on a 24/7 basis. Free market competition is expected to keep associated fees low.
The first step is for the Division of State Court Administration to seek competitive bids for an e-filing manager. That manager will be required to work with multiple e-filing service providers statewide. The Division will coordinate the process, including certification of those providers. By having multiple providers, litigants will have filing choices.
In 2006 the Court created Administrative Rule 16 to test e-filing. Three projects were approved for e-filing on a limited basis. “The Court is appreciative of the ground work completed by the pilot counties,” explained Justice Mark Massa who chairs technology projects for the courts. “The initial work demonstrates that e-filing is beneficial to litigants, lawyers, judges, clerks and their staffs.”
In anticipation of a statewide e-filing system, a committee of lawyers, judges, circuit clerks and court staff drafted a proposed trial rule for the e-filing project. The Supreme Court’s Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure is already seeking comments on the proposed e-filing rule. For more information on submitting a comment visit http://courts.in.gov/4210.htm. To read the Supreme Court order visit http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-other-2014-94S00-1405-MS-347.pdf.