Accessing CM/ECF



The CM/ECF system is a web based software program. CM/ECF. has been tested and works correctly with Firefox 3.5  and Internet Explorer (versions 7 and 8). CM/ECF court users process cases through the federal courts’ restricted intranet while attorneys and other public users will submit pleadings and view case data from the internet. Both court and external users have different levels of access to screens via menu selections and functionality as determined by their needs.


  1. To access the court web site, open your browser (Internet Explorer) and enter , select CM/ECF on the red menu bar, select the link, Login Live ECF/Pacer. Familiarity with browser navigation and functionality is recommended for successful and efficient use of this system.

    NOTE:    For quick access to this site in the future, set a bookmark or create a button on your navigation bar.
    The Back button on your navigation bar can be used to back up in case processing or queries at any time to view a previous screen. You will find that the Back button and the Forward button will allow you added flexibility in case processing.

  2. Depending on your settings in your browser, the CM/ECF CERTIFICATE NAME CHECK screen may display next. Click [continue] and read the security information until [Finish] appears.

    Internet users (attorneys, trustees and, in some courts, certain creditors) will use two sets of logins and passwords; one for ECF filing and the other for Public Access to Electronic Records (PACER) access for queries and reports.

    Participants will initially enter their ECF login and password which has been issued by the court on this screen. This login and password allows electronic filing of documents, not access to reports or queries.

    Most courts consider the registered user’s login and password the electronic equivalent of their signature. This concept is generally incorporated into the court’s General Order on Electronic Filing or by Local rule.

    Your Login and Password fields are case sensitive. A login of thomas should not be entered as Thomas or THOMAS. The password cannot exceed 8 characters and should not include special characters (%,#,$,%).

    The client code field is optional and is used for PACER users to associate this activity to specific customers

    If an error is made entering login and password information before submitting the screen, clicking on the [Clear] button will delete the data and allow you to reenter information.

    This login screen will subsequently appear when web users select any report or query selection from a CM/ECF menu. The PACER program charges 8¢ per page with the total for any document, docket sheet or case specific report not to exceed the fee limit for 30 pages. Transcripts of Federal Court Procedures shall not be subject to the 30 page fee limit. After running a report or query, a PACER summary of pages and costs will appear at the end. A user will be advised of how many pages have been selected before accepting the information and/or charges for pdf documents only.

    PACER information and registration is available at:

    The PACER Service Center bills users only when annual usage in a calendar year is more than $10.00, e.g., if on December 31, a participant owes $9.56, no bill will be issued for that year and a new billing cycle will begin January 1 of the next year. Copies of case files are still available at the court for $.50 per page.

    All users are personally responsible for activity with their logins. Participants will be given access to maintain their password, address and e-mail preferences.

    The PACER site also offers free Internet access to a series of CM/ECF tutorials for attorneys and other web users through a series of Computer Based Training (CBT) modules. No login or password or charge is required for this feature. The lessons can be done at your PC in individual modules at the convenience of the student. Screens replicate the CM/ECF environment and are interactive.

    Access to this resource is available at:

    Access to the various modules are provided by the blue Main Menu Bar at the top of the screen. Each selection is a hyperlink to another set of options or hyperlinks allowing participants to file documents, query, view or print a docket sheet, generate reports or maintain the system.

    This menu is also used to exit the system. The preferred method to exit ECF is to click the Logout hypertext link on the ECF Main Menu Bar. If you do not logout of ECF using this link, the next time you attempt to log into the system, you may receive a warning message advising you are already logged into the system.

    Public Access
    Bankruptcy case information on CM/ECF is available to the public through participating court Internet sites. For instance, the bankruptcy court in the Eastern District of Virginia can be accessed by typing this URL,, in the Location Box of your browser. A PACER login is universal and may be used at multiple courts for access to reports and queries.

    Inquiries can be made through Public Case Query which provides search capabilities by case number or name.

    PACER gives participants access to a CM/ECF court calendar, a cases report, claims register, creditor matrix and case docket sheets. This information is current and is updated with activity in real time.

    CM/ECF registered users can subscribe to electronic notification of any filing on any case within the district. These notices are received through the participants e-mail program. Notices can be monitored throughout the day or by requesting a daily summary of activity of all the cases they have signed up for. Every user can access a copy of the PDF document that has been filed once without charge. It is advisable to save or print this file. Subsequent requests through the document’s hyperlink will produce the standard PACER login screen and the user will be charged the appropriate amount per page.