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State courts to switch to e-filing system in 2015

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Indiana courts will switch to electronic filing beginning next year, state court officials announced Thursday.  

“This is really a result and a culmination of more than a decade of review and testing,” Court of Appeals Judge Paul Mathias told Indiana Lawyer. Mathias is taking a lead role in implementing e-filing and electronic service.

The Division of State Court Administration plans to begin implementing e-filing in phases starting next year. Mathias said paper filing likely will be phased out so clerks won’t be burdened with overseeing two filing methods.

The division soon will seek competitive bids for a single statewide e-filing manager, according to information provided by the courts. Mathias said it’s anticipated that the system will be supported by fees, and filers will have a choice of e-filing service providers that will be certified by the court.

A committee of judges, lawyers, clerks and staff drafted a proposed rule for e-filing. Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said a 30-day comment period on the proposal will begin Thursday, and an order from the court also is expected to be issued Thursday.

Mathias said competition among market providers is expected to keep fees low, and the courts will strive to build in fee waivers and make the system accessible for indigent litigants.

Indiana’s two most populous counties, Marion and Lake, have operated pilot e-filing systems for several years since the Supreme Court granted authorization in 2006. Those pilots will continue.

“We’re really excited to bring this level of connectivity” to court users, Mathias said. “It’s the same level of connectivity people have gotten used to in the last decade.”

The initiative coincides with a planned conversion of appellate courts to the state-supported Odyssey case management system now in use in courts in 48 counties. Robert Rath, director of appellate court technology, said the conversion will allow attorneys and the public to view trial and appellate case dockets on the same site.

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