Indiana Commercial Courts Working Group Recommends Making Commercial Courts Permanent

Three years ago, on January 21, 2016, Indiana’s Supreme Court created the Commercial Court Pilot Project. In June of 2016, Commercial Courts began operating in six Indiana County Superior Courts, with an initial 3-year term. A Commercial Court Working Group had been created in 2015 to make recommendations about establishing Commercial Courts, and the Working Group subsequently studied and reported on the functioning Commercial Courts.  As part of its mandate, the Working Group issued its Final Report and Recommendations on November 1, 2018.

This report includes nine specific recommendations, each of which are discussed in detail within the final report, which can be accessed here.

The nine recommendations are:

1.     The Indiana Supreme Court should permanently establish Indiana Commercial Courts effective June 1, 2019.

2.     Further study of caseloads in other counties is needed prior to expanding commercial courts to additional counties.

3.     A commercial court case type, “CL” (“Commercial Litigation”), should be added to Indiana Administrative Rule 8(b)(3).

4.     The Working Group should gauge interest in additional counties’ future voluntary participation.

5.     The Indiana Supreme Court should appoint a new commercial court judge when a commercial court judicial vacancy occurs

6.     The Indiana Supreme Court permanently establish and support an “Indiana Commercial Court Committee.”

7.     The Commercial Court law clerks should become State employees.

8.     Commercial Court Interim Rules should be made permanent rules of the court effective June 1, 2019.

9.     A database of searchable, substantive commercial court decisions should be available in pdf format via the in.gov/judiciary/commercial court website.

In addition to this November 2018 report, the Commercial Courts homepage includes details about the Commercial Courts history and practices, with links to pertinent court orders and forms, practice guides, rules, and earlier reports. Though a relatively new business court, the Indiana Commercial Courts Handbook provides a useful model that other business courts might consider adapting in formatting guidance to their own Bench and Bar.