You are here
Frequently Asked Questions About CM/ECF and PACER
If you have any CM/ECF-related questions - Please contact the CM/ECF Help Desk at 866-450-1859 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any PACER-related questions - Please visit the PACER website at: www.pacer.gov, contact the PACER Service Center at 1-800-676-6856 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Central Standard Time or send an email to: email@example.com.
01. Can the general public view cases and documents before the Court?
Yes, anyone with a PACER account can access public cases and documents before the Court.
02. What’s the difference between CM/ECF and PACER?
The Case Management/Electronic Files (“CM/ECF”) System is an electronic filing system used to electronically file documents with the Court via the internet.
The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (“PACER”) System is an electronic public access service that allows users to run reports and view documents from all federal courts via the internet.
PACER acts as a portal to the documents and case information stored on CM/ECF. The same information, functions, queries, reports and documents that were available through the Court’s CM/ECF System in the past are available through the PACER System.
03. Do I need a PACER or CM/ECF account to view the Rules of the Court, Administrative Orders and Slip Opinions on the Court’s website?
No, all of the content on the Court’s website, www.cit.uscourts.gov, will be accessible without a CM/ECF or PACER account.
04. Is CM/ECF and PACER training available?
The NextGen CM/ECF and PACER User's Manual is available on the website to download. Upon receipt of the login and password, it is highly recommended that attorneys familiarize themselves with the CM/ECF System by reading the materials available on the website.
If you have any CM/ECF-related questions, please contact the CM/ECF Help Desk at 1-866-450-1859 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
PACER provides a Frequently Asked Questions section, free training and video tutorials on their website at: www.pacer.gov.
If you have any PACER-related questions, please contact the PACER Service Center at 1-800-676-6856 or send an email to: email@example.com.
05. What do I need to file documents in the NextGen CM/ECF System?
CM/ECF Filers and Confidential Information Filers will need the following to file documents through CM/ECF:
- A personal computer running a standard platform such as Windows or Macintosh.
- A PDF-compatible word processor like Macintosh or Windows-based versions of WordPerfect or Word.
- Internet service.
- A web browser that supports 256 bit encryption. Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer 11 are highly recommended.
- Software to convert documents from word processor format to portable document format (PDF). Adobe Acrobat is recommended. Adobe Acrobat version 9.x and above, adequately meet the CM/ECF filing requirements.
- Adobe Reader or a similar PDF viewing application is needed for viewing PDF documents.
- A scanner may be necessary to create electronic images of documents that are not in a word processing format.
- An upgraded PACER account (for attorneys admitted after March 12, 2020)
- An upgraded PACER account linked to your current CM/ECF account (for attorneys with CM/ECF accounts)
06. Who do I contact to get help?
For questions about the CM/ECF System, case information or technical assistance regarding hardware and software requirements, please contact the CM/ECF Help Desk at 1-866-450-1859 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any PACER-related questions, please visit the PACER website at: www.pacer.gov, contact the PACER Service Center at 1-800-676-6856 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Central Time or send an email to: email@example.com.
07. Do I need to register for PACER, CM/ECF or both?
If you are an attorney admitted to the Court, have a CM/ECF account with the Court and only wish to file and view documents, access queries, run reports, and receive one free look at documents served upon you via Notice of Electronic Filing, you will only need an upgraded PACER account linked to your CM/ECF account.
If you are an attorney admitted to the Court after March 12, 2020 and wish to file and view documents, access queries, run reports and receive one free look at documents served upon you via Notice of Electronic Filing, you will need to request filing access with the Court, to request filing access, please follow these instructions.
If you only wish to access queries, run reports and other view documents, you will need a PACER account.
08. How do I register for an upgraded PACER account?
09. How do I requesting filing access?
10. I have a CM/ECF account and an upgraded PACER account, how do I link them together
11. I already have a PACER account, how can I tell if it’s an upgraded PACER account?
If you created your PACER account after August 11, 2014, you have an upgraded PACER account.
To check if you have an upgraded PACER account, follow these instructions.
12. I already share a PACER account provided by my firm/agency/company, do I need to register for my own PACER account?
If you are an attorney and wish to file documents on the Court’s CM/ECF system, you will need your own upgraded PACER account.
If you only wish to view documents, you can use your shared PACER account.
13. I am leaving my law firm, how do I update my CM/ECF and/or PACER account?
You must notify the Court by submitting a Request for Change in Information form. If you appear in active cases before the Court, you will need to file the appropriate forms in each of your cases.
If you have your own PACER account, you must update your PACER account through the “Manage My PACER Account” page on the PACER website at: www.pacer.gov.
14. I registered for a CM/ECF and/or PACER account, but have not yet received a Login and Password. How can I check on this?
Please contact the PACER Service Center at at 1-800-676-6856 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Central Time or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
15. Why isn’t my PACER Login and Password working?
16. I have lost my CM/ECF password, what do I do?
For help, please contact the CM/ECF Help Desk at 1-866-450-1859 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time or send an email to: email@example.com.
17. I have lost my PACER Login and/or Password, what do I do?
18. I am a Confidential Information Filer and need to update my Password, what do I do?
Please visit the PACER website at: www.pacer.gov, login to your account, click on Manage My Account, then Change Password.
19. When I log into PACER, I am prompted for a Client Code. What is the Client Code?
You may use the optional Client Code field to help you organize your PACER transactions for your internal billing process. You can enter up to 32 characters of text in this field. For more information on Client Code settings, visit the PACER website at: www.pacer.gov and click on Manage My PACER Account.
20. What are the access fees for using PACER?
To view the PACER Fee Schedule, visit the PACER website at www.pacer.gov.
21. Are there additional fees for filing documents through CM/ECF?
No. Initiating documents and Notices of Appeal may require filing fees per the Rules of the Court, but there are no additional fees for filing documents through CM/ECF.
22. Do I need an upgraded PACER account to receive Notices of Electronic Filing when there is docket activity in my cases?
Yes, you will need an upgraded PACER account to receive Notices of Electronic Filing when there is docket activity in your cases.
23. How do I get my one free look at a document served upon my via Notice of Electronic Filing?
When you receive your Notice of Electronic Filing, click on the hyperlink to the document. You will not be charged for your first look at the document and you may print and/or save the document to your computer for future use. If, however, you click on the hyperlink to the docket sheet or attempt to access the document after this free look, you will need a PACER account and be subject to PACER access fees.
24. Does each attorney of record in a case get one free look at a document served upon them via Notice of Electronic Filing?
Yes, all attorneys of record receive one free look at the document served upon them via Notice of Electronic Filing.
25. I have secondary email addresses linked to my account, do they get one free look at the documents served upon them via Notice of Electronic Filing?
Yes, anyone receiving a Notice of Electronic Filing will get one free look at the document and be able to print and/or save that document to their computer for future use. If they click on the link to the docket sheet or attempt to access the document after this free look, they will need a PACER account and be subject to PACER fees.
26. I am not getting Notices of Electronic Filing in cases in which I am involved, what’s wrong?
First, make sure you are listed as an attorney of record in the case. If you are listed on the docket sheet, contact your organization’s technical support or review your e-mail settings to verify whether your server restricts e-mail from the CM/ECF System.
If you continue to experience difficulties, please contact the CM/ECF Help Desk at 1-866-450-1859 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
27. When is a filing due?
Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, all electronic filings will be deemed timely as long as they are filed before midnight, Eastern Time.
28. When are documents considered to be filed?
A document shall not be considered electronically filed until the filer receives a CM/ECF System-generated Notice of Electronic Filing.
29. Do documents need to be in a particular format before they are filed on the CM/ECF System?
Yes, the CM/ECF system will only accept documents in PDF.
30. I can’t find the docket event for my filing, what do I do?
You can search for docket events by clicking the Search button located on right side of the CM/ECF toolbar. When you are prompted to search for menus and events, type in a word or phrase and click ‘Search.’ The system will then provide you with a list of docket events using that word or phrase. If your docket event is listed, you may click on it to begin the filing process.
If you cannot find the docket event using the Search feature, contact the CM/ECF Help Desk at 1-866-450-1859 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time or send an email to: email@example.com.
If you need to file a document after Clerk’s Office hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, Eastern Time), you can use the docket event, Z-motion or Z-document, to preserve your filing date.
31. I am having problems with my computer and the deadline is here, what can I do?
Contact the CM/ECF Help Desk at 1-866-450-1859 as soon as possible to let them know of the situation.
If your case is assigned to a judge, contact the Case Manager for that judge as soon as possible.
32. I made a mistake in my filing, how do I correct it?
Contact the CM/ECF Help Desk at 1-866-450-1859 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
33. Are any documents precluded from being filed electronically?
Yes, physical exhibits and items and classified documents should be sent or hand-delivered to the Court and accompanied by a Notice of Manual Filing and, if appropriate, a Form 23 Certification of Filing and Service of Physical Exhibit or Item, Rule 80(h).
34. Where can I get the Court’s Rules and forms?
35. I know that my password is my signature, but what do I do if I am filing a stipulation that other attorneys have signed?
Please refer to Administrative Order 02-01 for direction on these filings.
36. What constitutes electronic service?
Per Administrative Order 02-01, except as otherwise ordered by the Court, the electronic filing of any document and the Court’s transmission of a Notice of Electronic Filing of that document shall constitute service on all counsel or pro se parties who are registered with the CM/ECF system.
37. Are there any documents that can’t be served electronically?
Documents that are not filed electronically, initial jurisdictional filings requiring service per the Rules of the Court and documents requiring service upon pro se parties that are not registered with the CM/ECF system must be served in non-electronic form.
38. Must I provide a Certificate of Service with my electronic filing?
You must only provide a Certificate of Service when serving parties in a non-electronic format.
39.With mandatory e-service, will I still get the five extra days to respond to motions?
No, parties will no longer receive five extra days to respond to motions when they are filed and served electronically.
40. Will I get five extra days to respond if the document is hand-delivered?
No, there are no extra days for responding to hand-delivered documents.
41. Can I submit a Motion to Intervene and the subsequent Notice of Appearance, Form 13 and Form 17 as just one filing?
Each document should be filed separately and in this order: Motion to Intervene, Form 11 Notice of Appearance, Form 13 Disclosure of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interest, Form 17 Business Proprietary Information Certification for (attorneys) and Form 17 (consultants).
42. What is a PDF document?
PDF stands for Portable Document Format. This format was chosen because it allows a document to retain its pagination, formatting and fonts no matter what type of computer is used to view or print the document.
43. How do I make a PDF document?
As there are many methods in which to create PDF documents, please refer to the instructions for your word processing or PDF-creating software or consult with your technical support staff or software provider.
44. My document is not in a word processing format, how do I file it?
If you can scan the document, Sscan it the document at 300 dpi(dots per inch) and make the PDF document text searchable by using the ‘Paper Capture’ feature. If the document cannot be scanned, contact the CM/ECF Help Desk at 1-866-450-1859 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time or send an email to: email@example.com. If your case is assigned to a judge, contact the Case Manager for that judge.
45. I filed a public version of a document, with redacted text suppressed, yet others were able to view the entire document, including confidential redacted portions, how can this be?
Depending on how the data was suppressed, all the information you included in your document could be available to anyone who views it. PDF documents are not necessarily secure if you unknowingly leave metadata behind in the document for others to view. For a more detailed explanation, see the Court's recent Technical Broadcast on Metadata (click here).
46. Is the CM/ECF System secure?
The CM/ECF system has several layers of security. In order to ensure that your filing has not been altered in any way, please refer to the verification procedures in the NextGen CM/ECF and PACER User’s Manual.
47. What does "Internal Server Error" mean?
It means that the CM/ECF System is unable to complete your request. Please contact the CM/ECF Help Desk at 1-866-450-1859 or firstname.lastname@example.org and inform them of the error.
Please refer to Paragraph 10(a) of Administrative Order 02-01 for further information and instruction regarding technical failures of the Court’s CM/ECF system.
Please note: We can only assist with inquiries regarding the U.S. Court of International Trade.
48. I submitted a document and I got the message, "You cannot load this file because it's over 50 Megabytes (MB)", what do I do?
This is most likely to occur with scanned documents. If the main document exceeds the 50 MB limit, the document must be broken up into logical divisions with each division not exceeding the 50 MB limit.
49. I tried to file a PDF document and received a message that states: “ERROR: Document is malformed or contains code which may cause an external action (such as launching an application). This PDF document cannot be accepted.” What should I do?
You should compress your PDF in Adobe Acrobat and submit your document again by following the steps below:
1. Open your PDF document in Adobe Acrobat
2. Click on File, then Print
3. In the Print pop-up window, select Adobe PDF from the Printer drop- down menu
4. Click on Properties button next to the Printer drop-down menu
5. In the Adobe PDF Document Properties pop-up window, click on the Paper/Quality tab
6. Click on the Advanced button
7. Under Graphic, next to Print Quality, click on 1200 dpi and select 300 dpi from the drop-down menu
8. Click on the OK button twice to return to the Print pop-up window
9. Click on the Print button
10. Type in your file name in and click on the Save button
11. Log in to CM/ECF and file your document
50. I tried to file a document and there is a message that says "ERROR: Document is not a well-formed PDF document", what is wrong?
All documents filed with the system must be in PDF format. These documents are identifiable by ".pdf" at the end of the document name.
51. I tried to file a PDF document and I get a message that states: "ERROR: This document has security measures in effect, such as password protection or access restriction. This PDF document cannot be accepted." - What should I do?
You must deactivate the Adobe Acrobat security features, such as password protection, save the file, and submit the document again.
52. I tried to access Query and received the following message: “Security violation: You do not have access rights to this program (iquery.pl). Please contact the Systems Administrator if you feel this is in error. This access attempt has been logged.”
Most likely your internet browser cache needs to be cleared.
1. Click on the cog wheel icon on the upper right corner of the window and select Internet Options.
2. From the "Browsing history" area, click the Delete button.
3. In the next dialog box, check all boxes and then click Delete. Click Apply and then OK.
4. Close the browser.
5. Run Internet Explorer again and log into the system.
1. If you do not see the Tools menu at the top of the window, right click on any blank area of the Firefox window title bar and select Menu Bar. You may right-click again and deselect Menu Bar to hide the menu again.
2. Open the Tools menu and choose Options.
3. From the left navigation options, select Privacy and Security. Then click on Clear Data under the "Cookies and Site Data" section.
4. Close the browser.
5. Run Mozilla Firefox again and log into the CM/ECF system.
Note: Your software may be different than what is described in these instructions. Please consult your technical support staff or software provider if you require additional help.