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Case Management/Electronic Case Filing 
 FAQ

1. What is the Case Management/Electronic Case File (CM/ECF) project?
2. What are the benefits and features of using ECF?
3. What Courts are currently using CM/ECF?
4. Who developed CM/ECF?
5. When Will CM/ECF become available for attorneys for file electronically?
6. What hardware/software is needed on the attorney's end to use ECF?
7. What is Adobe Acrobat and PDF?
8. How is payment of filing fees handled for ECF cases?
9. How is the requirement of an original signature (attorney and/or debtor) handled for ECF cases?
10. Can an attorney authorize someone in their office (such as a paralegal) to use their login name and password to file documents in ECF?
11. How can I obtain current information and updates regarding the CM/ECF Project?
12. What ECF training and support is available for attorneys and others in their offices.
13. How does it work?
14. Can the general public view ECF cases and the documents in those cases?
15.Can any member of the public use ECF to file documents?
16. Since access is limited to authorized attorneys, is there any way for pro se filers or attorneys without Internet access to file documents in ECF cases?
17. How does an attorney become an authorized CM/ECF user?
18. Will local rules be in place to establish procedures for electronic filing?

19. What about exhibits?
20. Will there be any paper follow-up?
21. How will CM/ECF handle the filing of bulk motions or other actions in multiple cases?
22. Can corrections be made if a document is improperly docketed?
23. How many users can submit documents at once?
24. How many users can view an image at once?
25. How will docket entries be identified (as to creator)?
26. Is there a limit to the size of documents filed?
27. How are sealed records handled?
28. How do I obtain certified copies?

General Questions

1. What is the Case Management/Electronic case file (CM/ECF) project?

CM/ECF is a two-part solution to the judiciary's case management and filing needs. It has been motivated by the necessity of replacing an aging family of case management application (BANCAP). At the same time, the system includes the capability for electronic files, including the ability to accept Court filings over the Internet. CM/ECF allows all documents associated with a Court case to be managed electronically. It supports the unique interests of different communities -- Courts, attorneys and the public -- while providing a next generation case management system. Eventually the traditional case file will be a completely electronic "case file" that does not have any or very little paper.

2. What are the benefits and features of using ECF?

There are a number of significant benefits and features:

a) registered attorneys are able to file documents with the Court 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, from any location (bench, chambers, home, office),

b) Public access to case information is available to all registered users (attorneys, parties and the general public) through the Internet. This includes the ability to view the full text of all filed documents and images,

c) Immediate e-mail notification of case activity to parties and Court staff,

d) Secure storage of documents,

e) Immediate and concurrent access to case files,

f) Reduced need for physical file space,

g) Future ability to view archived files without retrieval from records storage facility.

3. What Courts are currently using CM/ECF?

All but 2 Bankruptcy Courts are live with CM/ECF. The Administrative Office’s implementation teams have been working with the remaining Bankruptcy Courts who are in the process of implementation. Many District Courts are currently operational on CM/ECF and additional District Courts are in the implementation process. 

4. Who developed CM/ECF?

ECF is the key automation project in the federal judiciary. All software development for the project is done centrally, by employees of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts in Washington, DC.
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5. When will CM/ECF be available for attorneys to file electronically?

The system is currently available to all attorneys.  Prior to participation in the ECF system, external electronic filers will be required to complete a training and certification program administered by the Court. For details on the training program and requirements for attorneys, please see the training page

6. What Hardware/Software is needed on the attorney's end to use ECF?

Hardware:

Software:

Internet

7. What is Adobe Acrobat and PDF?

Adobe Acrobat is commercial software from Adobe that allows you to save your documents in PDF (portable document format). All documents filed in ECF must be in PDF format (with the exception of the case mailing matrix, which is required to be in txt format). Acrobat is available from commercial software retailers for approximately $200 - $300. Adobe also distributes a program called Acrobat Reader that allows you to view and print (but not create) PDF documents. The reader is available for free download from the Court's website at www.utb.uscourts.gov and at www.adobe.com. There are many other PDF converter products available at lower costs at Internet sites such as www.docauto.com.

8. How is payment of filing fees handled for ECF cases?

Payment for ECF filings fees is made by credit card using the Court's E-commerce software. Information regarding the payment of fees will be made available during training or by viewing the Internet payment fees manual (PDF).

Browser pop-ups need to be enabled to pay using the E-commerce software.  Please view the information regarding browser pop-up windows. 

9. How is the requirement of an original signature (attorney and/or debtor) handled for ECF cases?

On July 29, 2002 the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Utah issued Administrative Order #1 regarding Electronic Procedures. The Order and procedures will provide ECF guidance for participants. The Order provides that the Participant's identification name and password will serve as the Participant's signature for all purposes under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9011 and 18 U.S.C. § 152(4). A Participant whose password is used to file a petition, pleading, motion, claim or other document thereby certifies that the Participant, whether an attorney or a unrepresented party, has authorized the filing. All signatures on electronically filed documents will be indicated by /s/. Example: /s/ Jane Doe.  If you scan pleadings that image original signatures, this is acceptable as well.  View Administrative Order #1     View ECF Administrative Procedures  

10. Can an attorney authorize someone in the attorney's office (such as a paralegal) to use the attorney's login name and password to file documents in ECF?

Yes, but the Court recommends that such access be very limited and controlled since whatever is filed under that name and password is deemed to have the attorney's signature on it.

11. How can I obtain current information and updates regarding the CM/ECF Project?

Interested parties can visit the Court's website at www.utb.uscourts.gov and visit the CM/ECF hyperlink for updates. In addition, you can contact the Court's Project Manager Brenda Dowler at 801-524-6635.

12. What ECF training and support is available for attorneys and others in their offices.

The attorney must complete training with a Court trainer.  This will usually take place in the Court's training facility (unless otherwise agreed upon).  If there are several people in your office to be trained, the Court will do its best to accommodate your staff.  At the training session, a login and password will be assigned to access the Court's training database.  On the completion of the training exercises, a live login and password will be issued to those parties authorized to file documents on the ECF database.  

For assistance after training, users may call the Court's Help Desk for assistance using the ECF system at 801-450-3443.

13. 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 is quite easy:

  1. Create the document using word processing software.
  2. Save the document in PDF format.
  3. Log onto the Court’s CM/ECF system, using a Court-issued login and password.
  4. Follow the set of simple prompts to provide information about the case, party and document to be filed.
  5. Attach the PDF document and submit it to the Court for filing (by pressing a submit button).
  6. Save or print the CM/ECF electronic receipt emailed from the Court confirming that the document was filed.

14. Can the general public view ECF cases and the documents in those cases?

Public users will be charged to view ECF reports and queries. PACER accounts will be required and may be obtained by contacting the Pacer Service Center by telephone 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday-Friday CST at (800) 676-6856, or via its website at http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov.

15. Can any member of the public use ECF to file documents?

Not at this time. Access is available only to trained, attorneys. Access may be made available to other frequent users (e.g. creditors) in the future.

16. Since access is limited to authorized attorneys, is there any way for pro se filers or attorneys without Internet access to file documents in ECF cases?

Yes. Attorneys with computers that can save documents in PDF can save the documents on a computer disk and file it with the Court. Attorneys without PDF capability can save documents either in Word Perfect and Microsoft Word format and file the disk with the Court. The Court would then convert those files to PDF and upload them to ECF. The Court will continue to accept paper filings and will convert the papers to electronic format.

17. How does an attorney become an authorized CM/ECF user?

Attorneys must obtain required hardware and software and complete CM/ECF registration and training. Once training has been accomplished, filing users must complete an Electronic Filing User Registration Form and submit it to the Court. View ECF Administrative Procedures

18. Will local rules be in place to establish procedures for electronic filing?

The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure currently authorize individual Courts to permit the electronic filing of documents by local rule. See Fed.R.Bankr.P. 5005(a)(2), 7005, and 8008(a). The service of documents electronically is also permitted with parties' consent. See Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9006(f) and 9022. On July 29, 2002 the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Utah issued Administrative Order #1 regarding Electronic Procedures.  
 View Administrative Order #1     View ECF Administrative Procedures  

19. What about exhibits?

Exhibits should be scanned unless the exhibit is a non-scannable item.

20. Will there be any paper follow-up?

For all ECF Filing Users, paper followup will be necessary for any party who does not receive e-notification.

21. How will CM/ECF handle the filing of bulk routine motions or other actions in multiple cases?

CM/ECF has a batch filing feature. After selecting an event code, the user will be able to enter multiple case numbers and file the entry in each case. However, all cases must share the same data inputted during the transaction.

22. Can corrections be made if a document is improperly docketed?

ECF users who incorrectly file a document with the Court, will need to correct the entry by filing an event such as a, "Withdrawal of Document." The withdrawal entry would indicate which document was being withdrawn by referencing the previously-filed document. If an ECF user needs to make a simple correction on a previously-filed document, an amended document should be filed. For quality assurance purposes, the clerk's office may also correct entries for clarification of the docket sheet and case data.

23. How many users can submit documents at once?

An unlimited number of Filing Users can docket simultaneously in the same case.

24. How many users can view an image at once?

All users can view cases information in the same case simultaneously.

25. How will docket entries be identified (as to the creator of the entry)?

The Filing User who created the docket entry is identified by the name inside of the brackets ( ) and the end of the docket entry. Court employees are identified by initials (aaa) and external users are identified by complete names (John Doe).

26. Is there a limit to the size of documents filed?

Yes. CM/ECF has a file limitation enforced through the ECF software. A PDF document should be no longer than approximately 50 pages in length or no more than 2MB file size. Users who scan documents should be aware that scanned documents can cause the file size to increase and it may exceed the 2MB file size but not be 50 pages in length. Please review our training manual for scanning documents and reducing your file size for filing. Doument Basics Manual

27. How are sealed records handled?

A motion and order to file documents under seal may be filed electronically. The documents ordered to be filed under seal must be filed conventionally and delivered to the clerk, with a paper copy of the order attached to the documents under seal.

28. How do I obtain certified copies?

The Court will continue its current practice of printing and certifying documents upon request. Entries on the docket sheet which are text based will be certified on the Court's official docket sheet. The appropriate fees will be assessed.

For additional information on how CM/ECF works please take our on-line tutorial.

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