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File a Case

Find instructions on filing federal case records electronically and other information about CM/ECF, the application courts use to maintain electronic case files.

Need to file a case in federal court using CM/ECF? Get started. 

Want more specific court information about CM/ECF including help desk numbers and maximum pdf file size? Look up the court you wish to file in.

Review CM/ECF release notes, access to automated scripts, and other information needed to extend the functionality of CM/ECF

Is your court migrating to NextGen CM/ECF? Follow these steps to prepare in advance.

 Frequently Asked Questions

Local court rules vary. Contact the court or check its website to determine if there are local rules governing this process.

You may have either saved the document as something other than a PDF, or you did not provide the full file path name. All documents must be saved and submitted as a PDF, with an extension of “.pdf.” In addition, be sure to provide the full path name when identifying the file during the upload process (e.g., C:\somedirectory\motion.pdf).

When a document is filed in CM/ECF, a notice of electronic filing (NEF for district and bankruptcy courts) or notice of docket activity (NDA for appellate courts) is automatically generated and emailed to the registered parties in the case. The NEF and NDA include the text of the docket entry, the unique electronic document stamp, a list of the case participants receiving email notification of the filing, and a hyperlink to the document(s) filed. Parties to the case will receive one free look when they click the document number link within 15 days of receipt of the NEF or NDA.

All courts using electronic filing treat the use of an attorney’s unique system login and password as a signature. Most courts require that attorneys retain copies of certain paper documents, such as affidavits or bankruptcy petitions, containing original signatures of third parties, for a set period of time. These procedures are managed by each individual court through a local court rule or order.

The notice of electronic filing (NEF for district and bankruptcy courts) or notice of docket activity (NDA for appellate courts) that is emailed to the registered parties in the case, lists the parties and their preferred method of receiving the notice.