Electronic Filing (CM/ECF)
Attorneys and other filers can submit files to the court electronically using the federal courts’ Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system.
What is CM/ECF?
Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) is the federal Judiciary's system that allows case documents, such as pleadings, motions, and petitions, to be filed with the court online. CM/ECF is most often used by attorneys in cases, U.S. Trustees, and bankruptcy trustees. Some courts permit bankruptcy claimants and pro se litigants to file using CM/ECF.
How can I access CM/ECF?
CM/ECF features central sign-on functionality that gives users access to both PACER and electronic filing from a single account. Filing a document in CM/ECF requires a PACER account and special access issued by an individual court. Learn how to register for an account.
How do I access case files and court opinions?
Any appellate, district, and bankruptcy case files and docket information may be viewed electronically using PACER.
Copies of court opinions are available at no charge on the Government Printing Office's FDSys website.
How can I learn to use CM/ECF?
Privacy Rules for Electronic Case Files
The Judiciary has received three reports from 18F, a technology consultancy within the General Services Administration, that recommend and discuss the replacement of the current CM/ECF with a new, modern case management and filing system. 18F recommended that the project incorporate agile development, user-centered design, integrated cybersecurity, and modern technology architecture.
- CM/ECF Experiment & Iterate Supplemental Report (pdf), released March 2022
- CM/ECF Experiment & Iterate Report (pdf), released October 2021
- CM/ECF Path Analysis Report (pdf)
The Judiciary is in the process of modernizing its case management system. One of the first steps in the modernization plan is to replace the current version of the system known as PACER (Public Access to Court Records) with unified search functionality and other improvements aimed at making records searches easier and more intuitive and user-friendly.
Unified search functionality would eliminate the need for users to search for records at individual federal courts and would also enable full-text searches and searches by judges’ names – features that PACER users have in the past said they favored. The system’s planners hope to take advantage of modern search technologies and algorithms, including “fuzzy” search logic so that misspellings and similar words are identified.
In April 2023, the Judiciary published a draft solicitation to vendors as a first step in a procurement process that will support PACER modernization. Draft solicitations are published on SAM.gov or other government websites to elicit input from industry. They give interested vendors the opportunity to ask questions and provide comments that ultimately can help an agency improve the solicitation, prompting better vendor proposals and heightening competition.
Milestones in the modernization of the Judiciary’s case management system will be updated as new information becomes available over the duration of the multi-year project.