Indiana will establish an e-filing system for trial and appellate courts statewide, allowing attorneys and individuals to file and access court documents online.

The Indiana Supreme Court announced the plan Thursday morning in a press release that said the system will be implemented in 2015, beginning in phases.

The court system has survived on paper filings for two centuries, and officials are touting the change as one that will make the courts more efficient and convenient.

Appellate court documents are filed on paper and maintained by a computer system that is 28 years old, the press release said.

"Now lawyers and litigants will be able to file court documents electronically," Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson said. "Using this technology, our courts will be more efficient and better able to administer justice without delay."

The first step toward establishing the system is seeking bids for an e-filing manager.

The court has launched pilot projects in Marion and Lake counties to test the service.

"The Court is appreciative of the ground work completed by the pilot counties,” said 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 St. Joseph County, the courts use the Odyssey case management systems as an online docket updated daily, but case files are still kept on paper, amassing in vaults in the county courthouse.

Throughout the state, 48 counties use Odyssey, including Elkhart County and LaPorte County.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are in the process of moving their case management systems to Odyssey as well.

© 2014 the South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Ind.)