These resources provide technical documentation, downloads, and other information needed to extend the functionality of CM/ECF or developing other tools that interface with CM/ECF.
Please note, this is not a complete compilation of the CM/ECF application created by the federal Judiciary. Many individual courts have modified the system to fit its needs. As a result, programming based on this information may not work in the same manner in every court's CM/ECF system. For information on modifications made by a specific court, please contact that court directly.
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Commercial PACER users who run data scraping scripts should do large data pulls between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Central Time. This helps reported intermittently slow system performance for other users. The federal Judiciary may suspend or reduce PACER access to any account causing an unacceptable level of operational disruption.
Individual court information, including links to CM/ECF, from the CM/ECF Court Lookup can be pulled using the following scripts:
Application Programming Interface (API)
An API is a set of procedures that allows users to create applications that access the data and features of other applications, services, or operating systems. The following sections provide documentation and resources for using the PACER Authentication and PACER Case Locator (PCL) APIs.
PACER Authentication API
To access court records, the first step is to get an authentication token using your PACER username and password. The PACER Authentication API allows the user to authenticate automatically and without a user interface. This can help facilitate access for automated systems.
The PACER Authentication API documentation provides more information and examples on this process.
PACER Case Locator (PCL) API
The PACER Case Locator (PCL) is a nationwide index of federal court cases. The public PCL API allows users to programmatically search the PCL for federal cases or associated parties. This API uses the same search functionality as the PCL application and searches the same data set.
The PCL API documentation provides more information and examples on this process.
Review the XML tags for appellate CM/ECF.
- XML Tags for Appellate CM/ECF V3.1
- XML Tags for Appellate CM/ECF V2.1
- XML Tags for Appellate CM/ECF V2.0
Review information and documentation for different features and functionality for the CurrentGen CM/ECF system and/or the NextGen CM/ECF system.
E-Filing of Bankruptcy Claims by Creditors
Read the specifications describing processes for electronic filing of claims information in U.S. bankruptcy courts in a batch mode by creditors.
CM/ECF Case Upload
Case Upload allows attorneys to upload a text file created by commercial bankruptcy petition software to CM/ECF to complete the bankruptcy case opening process without filling out the CM/ECF case opening screens. Use the following technical information for instructions on using the feature:
- Bankruptcy Case Information File for Release 5.3.4/NextGen 1.5.3 and 1.6.1 (pdf) (11/1/2020)
- Bankruptcy Case Information File for Release 5.2.3 and 5.3.2/NextGen 1.3.3 and 1.5.1 (pdf) (4/9/2020)
Case Upload also accepts the petition and may require a creditor matrix. If the case information is complete and the files are in the correct format, the module will complete the case opening process and display the notices of electronic filing. If the case information is incomplete or the files are not in the correct format, the system will display an error message, and the filer will be required to correct the problem before the case can be successfully opened.
After opening the case, CM/ECF will docket the lead event and, if applicable, the chapter 13 plan and the certificate of credit counseling. If a creditor matrix was provided, Case Upload will also add the creditors to the new case. The notices of electronic filing show the case number that was automatically generated for the new case. In addition to the PDF documents uploaded on the initial screen, the court may automatically generate a 341 notice.
NextGen CM/ECF XML Case Opening and Docketing
The XML Case Opening module allows more data to be captured through an uploaded XML file and streamlines the data entry process for attorneys.
This information is intended for bankruptcy petition preparation software vendors to open a bankruptcy case in NextGen CM/ECF, following the guidelines for XML submission of the bankruptcy petition and relevant documents, as defined in the Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD). Vendor software should be updated to communicate with NextGen CM/ECF web services and submit XML data, but also continue providing the PDF, which is the official record in the case. When a case has been opened with XML, the post-petition filing of missing or amended schedules, statements and/or other relevant forms should be filed with XML.
- IEPD for NextGen Bankruptcy Release 1.6.x Hotfix (zip) (2/18/2021)
- IEPD for NextGen Bankruptcy Release 1.3.3 and 1.5.x Hotfixes (zip) (2/5/2020)
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Suggestions for additional content or comments about developer resources may be emailed.
Companies engaged in the development of bankruptcy petition preparation software, bankruptcy case trustee management software or related products are invited to join an email list used by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and the Executive Office for the U.S. Trustees to notify bankruptcy software vendors of upcoming changes to CM/ECF, official forms changes, and related information.
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