The Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system is the Federal Judiciary's comprehensive case management system for all bankruptcy, district and appellate courts. CM/ECF allows courts to accept filings and provide access to filed documents over the Internet. CM/ECF keeps out-of-pocket expenses low, gives concurrent access to case files by multiple parties, and offers expanded search and reporting capabilities. The system also offers instantly updated dockets and immediate online access to new filings, which can be downloaded and printed directly from the court system.
The Northern District of California introduced electronic case filing (“e-filing”) in 2001 and now uses e-filing for nearly all cases. The CM/ECF software we use is developed by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts and customized by individual courts. As of 2012, all federal district courts in the United States have adopted e-filing.
ECF is not just for e-filing. Members of the public and journalists can use ECF in conjunction with PACER (which allows viewing of dockets and documents) to sign up for email notices to keep track of particular cases.