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About CM/ECF

Case Management and Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) provides the federal courts with an enhanced and updated docket management system. It allows courts to maintain case documents in an electronic format and provides each court the option of permitting case documents - pleadings, motions, petitions - to be filed with the court over the Internet.

What does CM/ECF offer?

CM/ECF will allow attorneys to file and view documents from their office, home or anywhere they have access to the Internet, 24 hours a day. Documents are automatically docketed as part of the filing process and are immediately available electronically. CM/ECF will also provide the following benefits:

  • 24-hour access to filed documents over the Internet
  • Automatic email notice of case activity
  • The ability to download and print documents directly from the court system (available now)
  • Concurrent access to case files by multiple parties
  • Secure storage of documents (so files are not misplaced)
  • Potential reduction in courier fees

How does it work?

The electronic case files system accepts documents in a portable document format (PDF). PDF retains the way a document looks, so the pages, fonts and other formatting are preserved. Filing a document with the court's CM/ECF system will be quite easy:

  • Create the document using word processing software
  • Save the document in PDF format
  • Log onto the court's CM/ECF system, using a Pacer-issued login and password
  • Follow the set of simple prompts to provide information about the case, party and document to be file
  • Attach the PDF document and submit it to the court for filing (by pressing a submit button)

How secure is it?

CM/ECF has many security features and has passed an evaluation by the National Security Agency. Access to the system is through a Pacer issued login and password.

How do I sign documents?

The court issues logins and passwords. Using your login and password to file a document is considered to be your signature.

Are there additional fees?

There are no added fees for filing documents over the Internet using CM/ECF; existing document filing fees do apply. Electronic access to court data is available through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) program. Attorneys and litigants receive one free copy of documents filed electronically in their cases; additional copies are available for viewing or downloading at ten cents per page. Directed by Congress to fund electronic access through user fees, the judiciary has set the fee at the lowest possible level sufficient to recoup program costs.