Frequently Asked Questions
Do documents that will be filed on CM/ECF systems need to be in a particular format?
CM/ECF systems are designed to accept only documents in PDF 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. It is also an open standard format. Adobe developed the format, and offers software that allows conversion of documents created in most word processing systems into PDF. Several word processing and other programs contain features that convert documents created in those programs into PDF. (To improve security and archiving capabilities, plans are underway to require that all filers use the new PDF/A format.) Currently, the size limitation is 32 mb per document, However, it is recommended to break documents larger than 20 mb down into 10 -15 mb parts if you are having trouble uploading them.
Are there procedural rules relating to electronic filing?
Rule 5(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 5005(a) of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Rule 25(a) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, and Rule 49(d) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure authorize individual courts by local rule to permit or require papers to be filed by electronic means. Most courts that offer electronic filing have issued an authorizing local rule; most have supplemented the local rule with a general order and/or procedures that set forth the relevant procedures governing electronic filing in that court. Individual court rules and procedures are generally available on their Web sites. Rules 5(b) and 77 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules 25 and 26 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rules 45 and 49 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and Rules 7005, 9014 and 9022 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure also authorize service of documents by electronic means if parties consent. The amendments do not apply to service of process. For more information, click here. Individual court rules and procedures are generally available on their web sites.
Amendments to the Federal Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Rules of Procedure address issues relating to privacy and public access to electronic case files. The Rules require that filers redact certain "personal identifier" information, such as Social Security or taxpayer-identification numbers, dates of birth, names of minor children, financial account numbers, and in criminal cases, home addresses, from their filings. Fed. R. App. P. 25(a)(5); Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2; Fed. R. Crim. P. 49.1; Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9037. At login to CM/ECF, a message reminds attorneys of their responsibility to redact this private information from the documents they file. The most recent version of this reminder also requires attorneys to acknowledge that they have read the notice and complied with the redaction rules. Filers cannot complete the login process without checking the acknowledgement in this recent version.