Obtaining Copies of Court Documents

In order to view or retrieve documents in any format, you must have the case number. If you do not have the case number, you may access the PACER system on one of the public terminals at any Clerk’s Office location, where you may search party names to obtain a case number. Most case files are now available entirely in electronic format through ECF.

Electronically-filed Documents

E-filed documents may be viewed and printed from the electronic filing system via PACER ( Alternatively, Clerk’s Office staff will print e-filed documents from the electronic filing system for a charge of $.10 per page.

Many of the orders issued by the judges of this court are available at no-charge online at  For more information, see Obtaining Free Court Orders from

Hard Copy Documents

The small number of case files and dockets still in hard copy form may be obtained on a same day basis, unless they are being reviewed by someone at the time of the request or are in the Federal Records Center, where paper files in closed cases are housed after one year or more. Clerk’s Office staff can tell you whether the file is in the courthouse or at the Federal Records Center.

A valid government-issued picture identification card is needed to view a paper case file or docket. Acceptable identification cards include a state driver’s license, a California identification card, a United States passport, or a federal, state, county or city employee card. Credit cards, car keys, or student identification cards will not be accepted.

To make copies of the very few documents only available in hard copy, it is important first to determine the court division in which the documents are located by examining the docket sheet online or calling the Clerk’s Office. There are several options for obtaining copies.

  1. Make copies in person at the Clerk’s Office using the coin-operated copy machines available in the viewing rooms of each of the three divisional offices. The cost is $.25 per page (copy cards may be purchased at outside vendors).
  2. In San Francisco and San Jose, copywork orders can be placed through the outside vendors listed below. This option is not available at the Oakland Division.
  3. Arrangements can be made to bring in a personal copier if you call the Clerk’s Office in advance.
  4. Clerk’s Office staff will copy documents on a time-available basis for a charge of $.50 per page.
  5. Certified copies may be obtained from the Clerk’s Office for a fee.

Archived files are located at the Federal Records Center. See How do I access an archived case? for more information.

Outside Copy Vendors

San Francisco
Colour Drop
727 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

Contract Ends 8/31/2023

Copy Work$ .50 per page
Searches$30.00 per Document/Pleading
Send Locally via Fax$ 1.00
Send Long Distance via Fax$ 1.00 per page
Rush Order$75.00 per order

Note: Only the actual cost of postage or actual courier charges may be charged to the requestor.

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