ECF Electronic filing (ECF) also known as e-filing or eFiling, is the automated transmission of legal documents from an attorney or a self-represented party to a court. Courts can also use electronic filing to send documents to an attorney.
Why Use ECF Electronic Filing?
The ECF electronic filing system streamlines the process of filing and notice of filing case documents in certain types of cases enabling parties to file documents with the Court and electronically deliver them to other parties in the case directly from a computer via the internet.
There is a Federal system for ECF electronic filing of federal matters such as bankruptcy and other federal cases, and a separate ECF electronic filing system for State court matters.
E-File System (PACER) for Federal Courts
E-filing has become a national initiative in the Federal Courts with well over half of the courts using the ECF electronic filing software, and more in the process of implementing it. The system used for federal ECF filings is the PACER System. Parties using the system must take a class before they are given permission and provided a user name and password to use the PACER system.
Pro se parties (people who are not represented by an attorney) are not allowed to use the Federal ECF electronic filing program and must file their documents entirely in paper, unless otherwise ordered by the Judge assigned to the case.
E-File System for California State Superior Courts
The use of an ECF electronic filing system in the California State Superior Courts is also growing and some state courts are making electronic filing mandatory in certain types of cases. In most situations with mandatory ECF electronic filing, self-represented litigants are not required to eFile or electronically serve documents. Self-represented people, however, do have the “option” to eFile and electronically serve documents if they choose to do so and/or are otherwise ordered to eFile and/or electronically serve documents by the court. To efile documents in any of the California Superior Courts, you are required to use an approved e-file vendor.
A People’s Choice provides legal document preparation services for a wide variety of legal matters. For more information about how we can help you prepare and process your legal documents, contact our office or learn more about the different types of services we offer through our website.