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CM/ECF FAQ

GENERAL

ACCESS RELATED

TECHNICAL - GENERAL WEB ISSUES

TECHNICAL - CM/ECF ISSUES

TECHNICAL - PDF RELATED

TECHNICAL - ONE FREE COPY

CASE RELATED

GENERAL

 

What is CM/ECF?

In January 1996, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts began development of the Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system. CM/ECF is a comprehensive case management system that will allow courts to maintain electronic case files and offer electronic filing over the Internet. Courts can make all case information immediately available electronically through the Internet. (Back to top)

 

Why Electronic Case Files?

Judges, court staff, and the public now have the capability to access electronic docket information, case management data, and legal research materials. As most documents are now initially created first in electronic form, the federal courts can further reduce the reliance on paper records by establishing electronic case file systems. These systems should enhance the accuracy, management and security of records, reduce delays in the flow of information, and achieve cost savings for the judiciary, the bar and litigants. (Back to top)

 

What are the benefits and features of using CM/ECF?

There are a number of significant benefits and features:

  • Courts can allow registered attorneys to file documents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Reduction of paper, photocopy, postage and courier costs.
  • Full case information is available immediately to attorneys, parties, and the general public through the Internet. This includes the ability to view the full text of all filed documents.
  • Attorneys on the system will receive email notices electronically in CM/ECF cases. This greatly speeds delivery and eliminates the costs to both the court and attorneys of handling and mailing paper notices.
  • Multiple parties can view the same case files simultaneously.
  • Since CM/ECF uses Internet standard software, the out-of-pocket cost of participation for attorneys is typically very low.(Back to top)

 

What if I do not have access to a computer? Can I be exempt from mandatory electronic filing?

An exemption will be considered where mandatory electronic filing would impose a hardship on a party or would constitute an unreasonable denial of access to the courts. For this reason an exemption from the mandatory e-filing requirement may be available for filers who are able to show that they cannot adhere to the electronic filing requirement at all, or attorneys that don’t regularly practice in the bankruptcy court and file documents here very infrequently. (Back to top)

 

What is the cost for using CM/ECF?

There is no additional fee associated with the filing aspect of the CM/ECF system. (Back to top)

 

How do I get Help?

Contact us either though our website or by telephone at 414-290-2700. (Back to top)

 

When a user files a document with the court does the system automatically serve the other parties or does the user have to do something extra to serve the document? And, do the other parties just get notification of a filing or do they get the actual document?

When a document is filed in CM/ECF, a Notice of Electronic Filing is automatically generated and e-mailed to the registered parties in the case, as well as to anyone that a registered user has requested to receive notice in the case. The notice includes 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 main document filed. In bankruptcy cases all recipients will receive one free look at the main document. The filer is responsible for serving the parties who are not registered for electronic-filing in a manner authorized by the federal rules of procedure.

An exception to this is when a document is submitted as opposed to being filed. For example proposed orders that are submitted for the court’s consideration are not served electronically on other parties even those registered as electronic filers. However, once a proposed order is entered by the court and filed, it is served on registered electronic filers as described above. (Back to top)

 

How do I get my free copy of newly filed documents?

Each attorney of record in a case will receive an email message containing a hyperlink to a document that has been filed. One free copy is available to each attorney of record and any secondary address listed under the email information screen. Attorneys are able to list multiple email addresses for their filer login (under "Utilities"). The hyperlink to access the document will expire after the earlier of these two events: the first use or 15 days. Any time that same hyperlink is accessed after it has expired, the user will be asked for a PACER login and will be charged to view the document. All users are advised to print or save the document during the initial viewing period in order to avoid future charges. (Back to top)

 

How do I start receiving email notices from CM/ECF?

After completion of the registration process and the court assignment of a login and password for CM/ECF, you will begin receiving automatic email notification of all documents filed in cases that you are a party to. In order to change the email address or add additional email addresses, log into the CM/ECF system with your court-issued filing login. Click on ‘Utilities.’ Click on ‘Maintain Your Account’. On the screen titled Maintain User Account, click on ‘Email Information’ at the bottom of the page. Enter your email address in the box for ‘Primary e-mail address’. You can send additional notices to other email addresses by checking the box ‘to these additional addresses’ and listing other email addresses in the box to the right. You can receive notices in other cases by checking the box ‘Send notices in these additional cases’ and listing the case numbers in the box to the right. You can choose to receive an individual notice for each filing or a summary notice with all the filings each day. Either the individual or the summary notice will contain hyperlinks back to the documents. You can choose to receive the email notices in HTML or text format. You should choose the format based on the type of email program you use on your end. After completing the information requested on the screen, click on ‘Return to Account Screen.’ Click on ‘Submit’. Then, click on ‘Submit’ again. You should receive a confirmation message on the screen that your email preferences were successfully updated. Make sure you keep your email address current, so you don’t miss notices. (Back to top)

 

ACCESS RELATED

 

Can the general public view CM/ECF cases and the documents in those cases?

Yes, the public can access case data in CM/ECF unless it has been sealed by the court. Someone may view bankruptcy records from the computers located in the public area of the Bankruptcy Clerk’s Office located at 517 East Wisconsin Avenue, Room 126, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is also possible to print copies of records from the computer terminals at the cost of $.10 per page. The public area is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Another way to obtain access to bankruptcy records is if you have a PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) account. You can gain access to PACER by clicking HERE. If you are not currently registered with PACER, you will need to establish yourself as a new user in order to obtain information from the service. Be advised that there is a cost associated with downloading documents.

 

How does an attorney become an authorized CM/ECF user?

In order for an attorney to be authorized to file documents electronically and to receive email notices of documents that are filed, he/she must be admitted to practice and be registered to file electronically within the specific court providing the CM/ECF system. Upon registration with the court, attorneys will be provided with a login name and password that will allow access for the filing aspect of the system. Attorneys will also need to register with the PACER Service Center to obtain a login and password for the querying component of the system. To learn more about their systems, including filing requirements and procedures, manuals, and other pertinent information visit: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/announcements/general/ecfnews.html (Back to top)

 

Are there separate logins and passwords for PACER and CM/ECF?

Yes. A PACER login ID is required for querying cases and is provided by the PACER Service Center. A CM/ECF login ID is required for attorneys to file cases, documents, and motions online. The CM/ECF login ID is provided by the court. (Back to top)

 

What type of training will be available?

The Eastern District of Wisconsin Bankruptcy Court offers two options for training:
Option #1: The Bankruptcy Court offers an on-site training class. The class is recommended if you are not currently filing in other districts. The training class is free and lasts approximately two hours. .
Option #2: The Bankruptcy Court offers a "Training" CM/ECF database. Attorneys and paralegals who are not currently filing electronically in other districts can utilize this database to practice filing documents. You will need to demonstrate proficiency in navigating through CM/ECF by successfully docketing each of the following items (if applicable): a new petition, a motion, a notice of motion, a certificate of service, and a proposed order.

To arrange a training session, or to report completion of the training exercises, please use the contact information listed below:
Erin Bareis (414-297-2719)
Amanda Sippel (414-297-2710), or
send an email to webteam_wieb@wieb.uscourts.gov (Back to top)

 

I am changing firms. Do I need to establish a new e-filing login and password?

You do not need to register for CM/ECF more than once as the original login and password provided by our court are unique to you. If you change firms, you must be sure to update your address and email information with the "Utilities" option of CM/ECF.  (Back to top)

 

How do I change my address with the Court?

In CM/ECF, click on ‘Utilities’, ‘Maintain Your CM/ECF account’. You can change your address, phone, email preferences, login and password on these screens. (Back to top)

 

How do I change my CM/ECF password?

1.Once logged in, go to "Utilities" on the dark blue tool bar.
2.Click on "Maintain Your Account" in the "Your Account" section.
3.Click on the "More User Information" button at the bottom of the screen.
4.Highlight the row of asterisks in the password box and type your new password in their place.
5.Click on "Return to Account screen" at the bottom of the page.
6.Click on "Submit" at the bottom of the page. (Back to top)

 

Why do I get a PACER login screen after I’ve already logged into ECF?

This login prompt is requesting your PACER login and password, which is required whenever you request a report or document from a case. In order to bypass this login prompt in the future, click the box that says ‘make this my default login’ after entering the PACER login and password. Your CM/ECF login and password will still need to be entered each time the ECF site is visited. (Back to top)

 

Why am I getting an invalid login message?

Look for these common problems:

  • Both the login and password should be entered in lower case letters (does not apply in appellate courts).
  • Make sure the proper login and password are being used for the proper database. (PACER login for querying; CM/ECF login for filing) (Back to top)

 

What should we do when an attorney leaves the firm?

When an attorney leaves a firm, both the attorney and the firm need to consider the implications to the CM/ECF noticing system. If cases will move with the attorney, the attorney needs to update his or her address and email notification within the "Utilities" option of CM/ECF. If cases will remain with the firm, the firm will need to ensure that the court docket accurately reflects the proper attorney of record (keeping in mind the court’s Local Rules) and that the new attorney of record is properly set up to receive notice of electronic filing. Law firms may also wish to consider the best method of handling email notices addressed to the firm for the departed attorney. Summarily removing the attorney from the firm’s email system with no further action, may result in notifications being missed. Firms may wish to consider whether their own e-mail systems should forward such emails to the attorney at his or her new address, or to another attorney within the firm. (Back to top)

 

Can I have the same filing login for all courts I practice in?

Since each bankruptcy and district court assigns the filing login for filing privileges in the CM/ECF system, it is not possible to obtain a universal filing login in these court types. (Back to top)

 

TECHNICAL - GENERAL WEB ISSUES

 

How can I search for a word or phrase within CM/ECF?

Once you select a document to review, you can perform a word search by clicking on EDIT, then clicking on either "Find and Replace", or "Find in Document" (or pressing Ctrl+F), and entering the word(s) you wish to locate in the document. For documents in PDF format (viewable using Adobe Acrobat Reader) search by clicking on "TOOLS", then "FIND" (or Ctrl+F), and proceed the same way. Note, if the PDF document is an image file, as opposed to a text file, searching the document is not possible. As the names imply, a text file is one created in the first instance using a word processing, spreadsheet, or similar program, while an image file is created by scanning a document using a document scanner or fax machine. (Back to top)

 

TECHNICAL - CM/ECF ISSUES

 

What hardware and software will attorneys need to participate in CM/ECF?

Attorneys will need the following hardware and software to electronically file, view, and retriev