NOTE: Effective May 1, 2020, and until further notice, pro se litigants with existing cases before this court may register to become ECF users and may file documents electronically without first obtaining a judge’s permission. Initial complaints and other case-opening documents must still be filed manually or by mail/private carrier. In addition, the court has suspended the “chambers copy” requirement until further notice. See General Order 78.
If you have an existing pro se e-filing account, and you wish to e-file in another case in which you are a party, send an email to ECFHelpDesk@cand.uscourts.gov to link your account to that case.
E-filing Self-Registration Instructions for Pro Se Litigants
After a complaint is filed and a case is opened, the docket and all documents in the case are maintained in an electronic format so that they can be viewed on a computer. Attorneys are required to file documents electronically (“e-file”). Parties representing themselves are not required to e-file, but many choose to do so. There are no registration costs and no fees for e-filing.
What do you need to e-file?
- Access to a computer.
- Frequent access to your email account.
- A word-processing program to create your documents.
- The ability to convert word processing documents into PDFs. (Many word processing programs come with this ability.)
- A way of scanning documents if you need to include attachments of paper documents.
How do I start e-filing with ECF?
- Click HERE to start the e-filing registration process.
- In the “Registering For” section, use the drop-down menu to select “ProSe” (see image below).
- Complete the rest of the form and follow the remaining instructions on the registration site. When finished, send an email to ECFReg@cand.uscourts.gov to inform the court of the case number(s) assigned to your case(s).
The ECF Help Desk can help answer your technical questions, but will not be able to help you e-file. The Help Desk is open from 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, and can be contacted at email@example.com or (866) 638-7829.
Do you want to e-file?
- You can e-file from any computer.
- You do not have to go to the courthouse to file your court papers.
- You have until midnight on the day your filing is due to e-file (instead of 4:00 p.m. for delivery to the Clerk’s Office for paper filings).
- You do not need to mail paper copies to the court or other parties.
- You will likely have more time to respond to any motion filed by the opposing side because you can receive and review the motion as soon as it is filed, instead of having to wait for your copy to arrive by mail.
Issues to Consider:
- You must have all necessary hardware and software required to e-file, so there may be some initial cost.
- You may require some training in how to convert documents to PDFs, and how to log into and use the court’s electronic case filing system (“ECF”) to file documents. (Free training on this is available on the court’s website.)
- You will not receive documents in paper, so you will be responsible for checking your e-mail frequently to make sure you read filings and court orders. You will need to print out all documents yourself.
- See the current Electronic Public Access Fee Schedule for information on e-filing costs. Please note that:
- You will owe no fees until you accrue more than $30.00 of charges in a quarterly billing cycle.
- Each party receives one free copy of all e-filed documents, via notice of electronic filing or notice of docket activity.
- No fee is charged for access to judicial opinions.