CM/ECF also provides courts the option to have case file documents in electronic format and to accept filings over the Internet. With the importance of the electronic case filing capabilities, it was named Case Management / Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF). ECF is the name we use to refer to electronic case filing.
Absolutely! ECF allows attorneys and others 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 then are immediately available electronically! (see Advantages)
In the District of Arizona, attorneys are required to file documents directly with the court over the Internet. Case documents are accessible to the public over the Internet using standard computer hardware, an Internet connection, a browser and a Portable Document Format (PDF) reader. And to file electronically also requires a word processor, PDF writer, and possibly a document scanner (see Requirements).
There are no added fees for filing documents over the Internet using ECF; existing document filing fees do apply. Electronic access to court data is available through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) program. Litigants receive one free copy of documents filed electronically in their cases, which they can save or print for their files. Additional copies are available to attorneys and the general public for viewing or downloading at ten cents per page, with a maximum cost per document of $3.00. 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.
The Judicial Conference has adopted a set of recommendations relating to privacy and public access to electronic case files. As part of the process to develop these recommendations, public comment was sought on a number of possible approaches. The Judicial Conference's Committee on Court Administration and Case Management is overseeing implementation of the recommendations.