In 2005, The United States District Court for the District of Delaware adopted a case management and electronic case filing system, known as CM/ECF. CM/ECF was developed by the Federal Judiciary to replace existing case management systems in the federal courts nationwide.

What Does CM/ECF Offer?

CM/ECF allows attorneys to file and view documents from their office, home or anywhere they have access to the Internet, 24 hours a day. Documents are automatically docketed as part of the filing process and are immediately available electronically. CM/ECF also provides the following benefits:

  • 24-hour access to filed documents over the Internet
  • Automatic email notice of case activity
  • The ability to download and print documents directly from the court system
  • Concurrent access to case files by multiple parties
  • Secure storage of documents
  • Potential reduction in courier fees
  • Reduction in paper and copy costs

Are There Fees?

There are no added fees for filing documents over the Internet using CM/ECF; existing document filing fees do apply. Electronic access to court data is available through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) program. Attorneys and litigants receive one free copy of documents filed electronically in their cases; additional copies are available for viewing or downloading according to the PACER fee schedule. Directed by Congress to fund electronic access through user fees, the judiciary has set the fee at the lowest possible level sufficient to recoup program costs.

How will I Sign Documents?

The court will issue logins and passwords. Using your login and password to file a document is considered to be your signature.

What Do I Need to Use CM/ECF?

  • A personal computer running a standard platform such as Windows (XP and above) or Macintosh
  • Word processing software
  • Internet access and a browser. The system has been certified with Firefox 3.5 and Internet Explorer 7 and above.
  • Software to convert documents into PDF
  • Scanning equipment may be useful

How Does it Work?

The electronic case files system accepts documents in a portable document format (PDF). PDF retains the way a document looks, so the pages, fonts and other formatting are preserved. Filing a document with the court's CM/ECF system is quite easy:

  • Create the document using word processing software
  • Save the document in PDF format
  • Log onto the court's CM/ECF system, using a court-issued login and password
  • Follow the set of simple prompts to provide information about the case, party and document to be filed
  • Attach the PDF document and submit it to the court for filing (by pressing a submit button)
  • Save or print the CM/ECF electronic receipt emailed from the court confirming that the document was filed

How Secure is CM/ECF?

CM/ECF has many security features and has passed an evaluation by the National Security Agency. Access to the system is through a court issued login and password.

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