ECF FAQs


1.    What is Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF)?

2.    What are the benefits of using CM/ECF?

3.    Can anybody use CM/ECF to file documents with a court?

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

5.    Is it mandatory to file documents electronically in CM/ECF cases?

6.    Is special hardware and/or software required to file documents using CM/ECF?

7.    What is Adobe Acrobat?

8.    How do CM/ECF filers pay filing fees?

9.    How are attorney and/or debtor signatures placed on CM/ECF filings?

10.    How can attorneys or creditors be certified to use CM/ECF?

11.    Can anyone use an attorney's login name and password to file documents in CM/ECF?

12.    What happens if an attorney or creditor files a document in error?

13.    Am I required to have a PACER account in order to view information in CM/ECF?

 

 

ANSWERS:

1. What is Case Management/Electronic Case Filing(CM/ECF)?

CM/ECF is an computer application that operates on the World Wide Web. The application permits registered attorneys and creditors to file documents electronically with designated United States courts. Documents are filed in an electronic case file at the court. The application enables the court to operate entirely without paper files.

2. What are the benefits of using CM/ECF?

Registered attorneys and creditors are able to file documents with the court 24-hours per day, 7 days per week.

Full case information is available to PACER users over the Internet. This includes the ability to view the full text of all filed documents.

Registered attorneys receive e-mail notices of all filings in cases where they have filed a document(s).

In most cases, the handling and mailing of paper notices is eliminated.

Electronic filing and the electronic docket makes case management by the court more efficient and timely.

There are no costs (other than filing fees) for attorneys and creditors who use CM/ECF.

 
3. Can anybody use CM/ECF to file documents with a court?

No. Only registered attorneys and creditors can file documents using CM/ECF.

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

Anyone can obtain a PACER account which permits them to view bankruptcy cases and documents in CM/ECF. PACER offers convenient electronic access to documents, listing of all case parties, reports of case related information, chronologies of events entered in the case record, claim registries, listing of new cases, and deadlines. There is a fee to use PACER based on the number of pages of information accessed.

5. Is it mandatory to file documents electronically in CM/ECF cases?

Effective July 1, 2011 it will be mandatory for all attorneys and high volume creditors to file electronically. Please read the following standing order for more information.

6. Is special hardware and/or software required to file documents using CM/ECF?

Registered attorneys and creditors will need the following hardware and software to file documents in CM/ECF:

PC running Microsoft Windows or Macintosh.

The more memory you, have the faster your documents can be processed, such as when you are scanning and/or converting to PDF format.

An Internet service provider (ISP) and browser software.

The higher the connection speed between your computer and your ISP, the less time you will need to wait for your filings to upload.

CM/ECF has been tested successfully using Internet Explorer 7.X or newer and Firefox 3.5 or newer as representative browsers. Other browsers and browser versions may work as well.

Bankruptcy petition software.

CM/ECF provides a "case upload" interface which greatly simplifies the process of opening new bankruptcy cases. Several petition preparation software packages provide the appropriately formatted files to take advantage of the interface.

All documents (except creditor matrices) must be in PDF format before they can be filed in CM/ECF!

Software to convert documents to Portable Document Format (PDF), such as Adobe Acrobat Writer may be required.

7. What is Adobe Acrobat?

Adobe Acrobat is commercial software from Adobe that allows you to convert your documents in PDF (portable document format). All documents filed in CM/ECF must be in PDF format. Acrobat Exchange is available from commercial software retailers for approximately $200 - $300. Adobe also distributes a program called Acrobat Reader that allows you to view and print (but not create) PDF documents. The reader is available for free download from www.adobe.com

8. How do CM/ECF filers pay filing fees?

Attorney filers pay filing fees with their credit card using Internet Credit Card Processing. Filing fees must be paid at the time of e-filing or before the end the end of the day the document with a filing fee was filed.

A receipt number is displayed immediately after the credit card charge is processed. Attorney filers can review their Internet credit card transaction payment history at any time.

9. How are attorney and/or debtor signatures placed on CM/ECF filings?

A document filed by electronic means shall either (a) contain a scanned image of any manual signature or an electronic signature affixed thereto; or (b) display an “/s/” with the name typed in the location at which the signature would otherwise appear.

Without relieving an Electronic Filer of the duty to comply with the signature requirement outlined above, the filing of any document using a login/password combination issued by the Authorizing Court shall constitute an Electronic Filer’s signature for purposes of signing the document under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9011 or any other signature requirement imposed by the Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, or any local rule of the Authorizing Court.

10. How can attorneys or creditors be certified to use CM/ECF?

The process starts with your submission of the appropriate registration form(attorney or creditor filer). You will be contacted regarding training and Connectivity Confirmation requirements. If you have any questions about this process, please contact Cathy Ruiz at (210) 472-6720 extension 240 or e-mail Cathy_Ruiz@txwb.uscourts.gov.

11. Can anyone use an attorney's login name and password to file documents in CM/ECF?

The court holds that no person shall knowingly utilize or cause another person to utilize the password of an Electronic Filer unless such a person is an authorized agent of the Electronic Filer.

12. What happens if an attorney or creditor files a document in error?

Court personnel review all filings in order to insure the electronic docket is completely accurate. When errors are found, case managers notify the filer of the error. Case managers will correct some errors themselves. Otherwise, they may suggest the filer take corrective actions such as re-filling or filing an amendment. Case managers cannot give legal advice.

13. Am I required to have a PACER account in order to view information in CM/ECF?

No. The court provides access to PACER in each divisional office at no charge. There is a fee if you print any of the information you view.