« Ind. Courts - "Decatur Co. Courts to do security review;" required by Supreme Court | Main | Courts "Gay Marriage Turns Tide as Governors Drop Defense of Bans" »

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ind. Courts - "Buried in documents, Indiana courts will turn to e-filing"

This May 9th ILB post by Prof. Joel Schumm foretold that e-filing is coming soon. Today it is official. Tim Evans reports today in the Indianapolis Star:

A formal announcement is expected today.

Starting in 2015, Indiana will join a growing number of states that allow or require e-filing for state courts. The process — intended to benefit attorneys, clients, court staff and taxpayers through convenience and cost savings — is expected to take several years to fully implement.

“Nearly every aspect of our lives includes electronic documents — stores send receipts via email, banks allow check deposits through a smart phone,” Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson said.

“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.” * * *

Court officials did not release cost estimates for the project. Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Paul D. Mathias, who chairs a committee established in 2006 to look at the transition to e-filing, said a number of options for covering the cost are being investigated. Among them: user fees and cost savings.

In Indiana over the past decade, 1.5 to 2 million new cases have been filed annually in state courts. That doesn’t count the millions of additional pages of documents filed in older, pending cases. The paper-intensive process is cumbersome, with documents delivered to trial court clerks in Indiana’s 92 counties. Those documents must then be entered into court computer systems and stored.

“Clerks across the state are struggling with horrendous problems with the storage and retrieval of records,” Mathias said.

The next step for state officials is to seek bids for an e-filing manager to provide the centralized system for accepting filings and getting documents to the appropriate court system. That manager will be required to work with multiple e-filing service providers that operate the front-end systems attorneys will use to get documents to the e-filing manager. The division of state court administration will coordinate the process, including certification of those front-end providers.

The e-filing manager selected for the project also will be required to maintain a basic filing system for indigent Hoosiers.

“We will not,” Mathias said, “allow e-filing to be a barrier to access to the court system.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 22, 2014 09:18 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts