FAQ: Record Management

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Indiana Court Times on 5/30/2017 by Tom Jones

The introduction of electronic filing has generated many questions regarding records. These questions tend to fall under the topics of “permanent records” and the use of the “destruction certification forms.” Guidance may be found in Administrative Rule 6—Court Case Records Media Storage Standards; Administrative Rule 7—Judicial Retention Schedules; and Trial Rule 77—Court Records. This article will address many of the frequently asked questions.

Permanent Records

What format(s) may be used for records that are to be retained permanently?

Permanent records may be maintained in original format (usually paper), on microfilm, or in electronic format. Admin R. 7(1)(B)

Should the Record of Judgments and Designated Orders (RJO) be maintained in paper format?

If the court has a scanning system approved under Administrative Rule 6 that scans or electronically files documents into the court case management system and saves a digital image of a document as part of the electronic case file, the clerk need not maintain a separate RJO. T.R. 77(D)(2)

What should be done to prevent electronically stored documents from becoming inaccessible due to technological obsolescence?

The first major step in reducing the risks of obsolescence and inaccessibility is to create electronic records using the standards stated in Administrative Rule 6. The second major step is to continuously migrate forward data and information whenever changes are made in the storage software. One way to be certain that information has been migrated forward is to check the ability to print.

Administrative Rule 7(I)(B)(2) provides: Records maintained electronically must be kept so that a hard copy can be generated at any time.

Destruction Certification Forms

I have scanned several boxes of civil case files ranging in dates from 2000 through 2006. May I destroy the paper files?

Court records that have been scanned in accordance with the standards set out in Administrative Rule 6 may be destroyed after they have been scanned. The court or clerk must first file a Destruction Certification Form with the Office of Court Services certifying compliance with those standards. The Indiana Office of Court Services must also provide authorization for the destruction of the records. Admin. R. (6)(K)

My court has adopted electronic filing, but often attorneys and unrepresented litigants file documents after the initial case was filed in electronic format. Do I have to file a Destruction Certification Form with the Office of Court Services in order to destroy these incidental paper documents?

If the courts in the county have adopted an electronic filing program based on the standards in Trial Rule 86, the clerk or the court, after scanning them into an electronic record, may destroy incidental paper documents filed without submitting a Destruction Certification Form. Admin. R. (6)(K)

For additional information on records management, please contact Tom Jones at 317-233-3695, or tom.jones@courts.in.gov