Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) is the new automated case management and electronic docketing system for the Southern District of Alabama. CM/ECF provides a new, easy-to-use electronic case filing feature that will make life easier for you by allowing you to file and view court documents over the Internet.
What Does CM/ECF Offer?
CM/ECF will allow attorneys 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 are immediately available electronically. CM/ECF also provides the following benefits:
- 24-hour access to filed documents over the Internet
- 24-hour access to filed documents over the Internet
- Automatic email notice of case activity
- Capability to download and print documents directly from the court system
- Concurrent access to case files by multiple parties
- Secure storage of documents
- Potential reduction in courier fees
What Do I Need to Use CM/ECF?
- A personal computer
- Word processing software
- Internet access and a browser
- Software to convert documents into PDF
- Scanning equipment may be useful
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:
- Create the document using word processing software
- Save the document in PDF format
- Log onto the court = s CM/ECF system, using a court- issued login and password
- Follow the set of simple prompts to provide information about the case, party and document to be filed
- Attach the PDF document and submit it to the court for filing (by pressing a submit button)
- Save or print the CM/ECF electronic receipt emailed from the court confirming that the document was filed.
Are There Fees?
There are no added fees for filing documents over the Internet using CM/ECF; existing filing fees do apply. Electronic access to court data is available through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) program. Attorneys and litigants receive one free copy of documents filed electronically in their cases; additional copies are available for viewing or downloading at 8 cents per page.
How will I Sign Documents?
The court will issue logins and passwords. Using your login and password to file a document is considered to be your signature.
You may obtain additional information on CM/ECF, request speakers for meetings or seminars, or arrange for demonstrations of CM/ECF by contacting Jeff Reinert in the Clerk's Office at (251) 690-2371 or you may Click here to send an email to the CM/ECF help desk.
Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts, and the U.S. Party/Case Index via the Internet. Electronic access is available by registering with the PACER Service Center, the judiciary's centralized registration, billing, and technical support center.
Information Available Through PACER
- A listing of all parties and participants including judges, attorneys, and trustees
- A compilation of case related information such as cause of action, nature of suit, and dollar demand
- A chronology of dates of case events entered in the case record
- A claims registry
- A listing of new cases each day
- Appellate court opinions
- Judgments or case status
- Types of documents filed for certain cases
- Many courts offer imaged copies of documents
PACER Service Center Services Available to the Courts and the Public
- External users of CM/ECF, e-filing attorneys or query-only PACER customers must have a PACER login. The easiest way to obtain a PACER login is to register at the PACER Service Center’s website at http://pacer.uscourts.gov. Customers need to complete an online form to obtain the login and password. Customers can gain access to PACER within the hour by registering on-line using a credit card. For those who choose not to provide a credit card, the registration process will take several days, because the login and password are sent via U.S. mail. Customers can also provide the PACER Service Center with a credit card to automatically charge their outstanding fees each quarter.
- The PACER Service Center offers online password retrieval for those customers who lose or misplace their PACER passwords. However, customers must provide the PACER Service Center with certain security information prior to losing a password through the “Account Information” section of the above web site.
- Billing logs are available to customers via the Internet website. The PACER Service Center collects billing logs from each CM/ECF site on a monthly basis. Shortly after collection, the billing logs are loaded on the PACER Service Center web site, where customers can view them. The PACER Service Center web site has the ability to sort the logs in a number of ways to allow the customers to easily track charges. The PACER Service Center sends quarterly invoices to all customers with outstanding charges over $10.
- The PACER Service Center Internet site is an excellent source for information. An entire section of the site (http://pacer.uscourts.gov/cmecf/) is focused on CM/ECF. There are links to all CM/ECF court sites, CM/ECF training modules, and documents that provide general information about the CM/ECF project.