Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is a service of the federal Judiciary. Its mission is to provide the public with the broadest possible access to court records and to foster greater public understanding of the court system. PACER users include court staff; members of the bar; city, state, and federal employees; the news media; and the general public.
As authorized by Congress, the program is funded entirely through user fees set by the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body of the federal courts. The fees are published in the Electronic Public Access Fee Schedule. PACER’s fee revenue is used to support the ongoing operations, development, and maintenance costs associated with the electronic case management system and other systems, such as the PACER Case Locator, and is used by federal courts throughout the country.
The PACER system was established by the Judicial Conference in 1988 as a way to improve public access to court information, which then typically required a trip to the local courthouse. Today, PACER provides the public with instantaneous access to more than 1 billion documents filed at more than 200 federal courts – nearly all the documents filed by a judge or the parties in any case.
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the agency that provides a wide range of support services to the federal courts, administers PACER in accordance with legislative and Judiciary policies, security requirements, and user needs.