At CasePacer, we know how much you rely on technology to get the job done efficiently and accurately. That’s why we wanted to provide some vital information on the online PACER database service. While our names may be similar, PACER offers an entirely unique service that your law firm will find to be invaluable.
What is PACER?
PACER stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. It is an online database system that the United States government runs and, as the name implies, provides access, to anyone, to federal court records. When you create a PACER login account, you can have instant access to over 1 billion documents that have been filed at federal courts all across the country.
PACER was authorized by Congress and was created by the Judicial conference in 1988 in an attempt to eliminate the need to visit the local courthouse to obtain crucial data. It has successfully improved public access to court information all across the country.
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts is the body that governs this system under all proper security measures and legislative and Judiciary policies.
How does it work?
PACER works by providing case and docket information from across the country. Once you have obtained your login information, you can access information from the United States district courts, the United States courts of appeals, and the United States bankruptcy courts.
PACER charges a fee to access all case documents. The standard fee is $0.10 per page, up to a maximum of $3.00 per document. It is important to note that these charges are based upon the number of pages that result from each search result, not from each downloaded or printed page. Because of this, PACER fees can get expensive. However, if you do not accrue more than $30 worth of charges in a given period, PACER will waive all fees. All PACER users are billed quarterly for their usage within the previous quarter.
Fortunately, PACER offers options for those who may not be able to afford their fees. If you don’t accumulate more than $30 worth of charges, your fees will be waived. There will also be no charges made if “you are a party in a case and receive a Notice of Electronic or Notice of Docket Activity (one free copy) from a court,” if you view the information from a federal courthouse, or if you were granted a free exemption. PACER will not charge a fee to those who are working pro bono, are from a non-profit organization, or are using the information they obtain for academic research purposes.
PACER also provides audio files for a charge of $2.40 and will print and deliver paper copies of documents, for an added fee of $0.50 per page, through the United States Postal Service.
How can I get a PACER login?
Not only is PACER highly useful, but it is also highly user-friendly. Getting a PACER login is simple. First, you need to decide which type of account will best suit your individual needs. The types of accounts that are available are:
- Case Search Only Account – You can register for a “case search only” account, which will give you the ability to search for federal court case records.
- Attorney Filers Account – This account is designed specifically for attorneys who wish to file case documents electronically.
- Non-Attorney Filers Account – If you are not an attorney but wish to file case documents online, this account was created for you.
- Group Billing Account – If you are a representative for a group of people and need to be able to manage the billing and payments for numerous different PACER accounts, this is the account that you will need to register for.
Once you have selected the appropriate account, you will simply need to fill out the required information. You can begin searching immediately and will be billed for your searches at the start of the next quarter.
What are the benefits of using PACER?
PACER was designed to hold all United States federal court information in one easy-to-access database. It has numerous benefits that will help your law firm and your clients receive the legal counsel that they require.
The greatest benefits of creating a PACER login include:
- Immediate access to over 1 Billion federal court records.
- Ability to use NextGen CM/ECF.
- Anyone can access information.
- Fees are only charged if searches amount to $30 or more per quarter.
- Access to data that would otherwise be unavailable/difficult to find.
- Assistance through the service center hotline number.
Accessing case data can be an extremely time-consuming process and can significantly impact your client’s right to a speedy trial. The PACER system has changed everything, making it faster and easier to obtain the information you need to bring your clients the justice they deserve.
The team at CasePacer understands the demands that you are under every day, and we strive to bring you all of the information and services that will make your job easier and more successful.