Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) provides the public access to federal court records and electronic documents through the Internet. There is a nominal per page fee for this service.
A PACER account is required for ECF users. Those with PACER accounts can continue to use these same logins and passwords to query ECF case information. A PACER account may be associated with an ECF login to eliminate logging in twice. Charges will be incurred when using PACER for query, but not when filing documents electronically with the court using ECF.
Ability to file documents with the court 24/7
Immediate confirmation to the filer and other authorized case participants that a document was filed
Optional e-mail notification of filings in cases of interest
Reduced paper and copying costs
Reduced courier and mailing costs
Automatic electronic service on other ECF participants that are a party to the case or have requested notice
All documents filed in ECF must be in PDF (Portable Document Format).
Documents (other than previously created exhibits that cannot be converted to text-based PDF) must be created in text-based PDF rather than imaged (scanned) because text documents are much smaller than imaged documents. For a typical document, its PDF text version would be 20% of the size of its imaged (scanned) version. An imaged document can take up to ten times as long to transfer and uses up to ten times more computer storage.
Text-based PDF is searchable and retains a document’s original formatting so the pages, fonts, etc. are preserved. Filing a document with the court’s ECF system is easy:
Create the document using word processing software or a clean version of the applicable Local Bankruptcy Form (LBF).
For a word processing document, print the document to PDF and save in a local directory. For an LBF, save the pdf in a local directory.
Log onto the court’s ECF system, using the court-issued login and password.
Follow the set of simple prompts to provide information about the case, party and document to be filed.
At the prompt, attach the PDF document, and submit it to the court for filing.
The document will be filed and the filer will receive a receipt which indicates the exact time and date on which the document was filed. Other parties to the case with ECF accounts will receive a notification of the filing at the same time and will be able to view the filed document.
Yes, several bankruptcy software vendors have developed products that greatly simplify the process of filing bankruptcy petitions through a process called Case Upload.
You may want to check with attorneys who file bankruptcy cases in ECF using Case Upload about their experience with these products.
Attorneys who electronically file documents which require a filing fee are prompted at the end of their transaction to pay fees using a credit card. Filers can choose to pay after every transaction or can simply make one payment at the end of the day for all transactions.
Attorneys may use either a credit card or a debit card with a credit card logo on it. Attorneys may wish to establish a business or personal credit card account specifically for filing fees. The following are suggestions on using credit cards for the payment of filing fees:Obtain a sufficient credit limit on the card. Communicate with the credit card company about how you will be using the credit card. Most credit card companies are willing to work with you on obtaining a higher limit for this usage.
Attorney signatures: When registering to use the system, attorneys sign an agreement to the effect that use of their login name and password constitutes their signatures on the documents electronically filed under FRBP 9011 (whether by the attorneys themselves or by delegation to another person in their office).
Form of signatures: Every document filed electronically shall contain, in each location a signature is required, the electronic signature of the filer and of any other signator to the document as follows “/s/ (Name)”. By affixing an "/s/ (Name)” of another person on an electronically filed document (e.g., a debtor's petition, a stipulation or consent), the filing participant is certifying under FRBP 9011 that the named person has signed an original of the document.
For documents requiring the signatures of two or more persons, other than those signatures that require verification or unsworn declaration thus requiring physical originals, either original or facsimile signatures are permitted.
Retention of Originals: Per LBR 5005-4(e), an electronically filed document that includes a signature requiring a verification under FRBP 1008 or an unsworn declaration (e.g., signed under penalty of perjury under 28 U.S.C. §1746) must be maintained in its original paper form for ten years by the filing ECF Participant or the firm representing the party on whose behalf the document was filed, except as otherwise provided for trustees by the U.S. Department of Justice. The filing ECF Participant must produce the original document for review upon receipt of a written request.
Under ECF, whenever a document is filed electronically, the filing party is automatically sent a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) via electronic means at the time of filing. All other parties to the case who are ECF participants also receive the NEF by e-mail. The NEF contains a hyperlink which allows the recipient “one free look” through PACER at any document filed in a case in which they are involved, including the ability to print and/or save it. ECF users may choose to receive individual notification of each filing or a daily summary report, and may register multiple e-mail addresses for this purpose. ECF participants do not receive notices, orders, judgments, etc. from the Bankruptcy Noticing Center (except for the 341(a) notice) as they will have already received these same notices in an e-mail NEF from the ECF system.
Participation in the ECF system constitutes consent to electronic service and notice of pleadings and papers, except for certain documents (such as a summons and complaint in an adversary proceeding under FRBP 7004) specified in LBR 5005-4(d).
It is recommended that individuals in each office who do the electronic filing complete the online training. In some legal offices, some or all legal assistants are responsible for electronic filing; in other offices, attorneys perform this function. The court strongly recommends that each office train at least two individuals so that there is always a trained backup available.
The court also strongly recommends that attorneys who will not personally electronically file documents familiarize themselves with the ECF system. This is important because they remain responsible for all documents filed in their name. It will also enable them to establish effective procedures in their office for review and approval of electronically filed documents prior to filing, retention of signed originals, receipt and processing of documents served on them via the ECF system, and control and reconciliation of credit card payments.
For further information about ECF, click here to contact the Court.