Electronic Access to Case Information for the Media

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Members of the media can sign up for access to court systems that allow certain functions to be performed or set up online, including:

Online Access to Court Dockets and Documents

The media can obtain information about specific cases through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system.  PACER is the federal judiciary’s electronic public access case information service.  It allows users to obtain case and docket information from federal courts.  To access case and docket information on PACER, you must register for the service and obtain a PACER login and password.  Registering for PACER is free; however, please consult the PACER website at www.pacer.gov for its usage fee policy. 

For more information, and to register for an account, please call the PACER Service Center at 800-676-6856 or visit the PACER website at www.pacer.gov.

If you have already registered for PACER, you can log on to use the system by clicking here.

How to Run a Civil Cases Report

Members of the media can locate new civil cases filed in the Central District of California by running a “Civil Cases Report” through PACER.  The report generates a list of all civil cases that have been docketed in the requested period of time.  It can be customized to capture specific case data using select parameters.  A PACER account is required to access this report.  The attachment here provides detailed instructions for running such a report.

Receiving Email Notifications of Electronic Filings in Specific Cases

Members of the media can monitor any civil or criminal non-sealed case by signing up to receive automatic email notifications of electronic filings made in that case.  There is no limit on the number of cases that can be monitored.  For each case so designated, recipients will receive a Notice of Electronic Filing (“NEF”) every time a document is filed or court action is docketed.  The NEF will include a hyperlink to the electronically filed document for which the NEF serves as notice, unless that document was filed under seal or subject to remote viewing restrictions.

To register for this service, you must first open an account with PACER.  Once you have a PACER account, you must register for a media account with the Court’s electronic filing system (the Case Management/Electronic Case Filing, or CM/ECF, System) and then link that account to your PACER account.  To register for a media account, click here to complete the online request form.  You will need to upload a copy of your press credentials to submit with the request form; request forms submitted without credentials will not be processed.  After your request has been processed, you will be sent an authorization code that will allow you to link your CM/ECF media account with your PACER account. 

Note that this linking step became necessary only as of February 18, 2020, when the Court upgraded its CM/ECF software to NextGen CM/ECF.  If you had a media account with the Central District prior to that date, you will need to link it to your PACER account on or after February 18, 2020 to have full functionality.  To link your accounts, you will need to have an individual PACER account (that is, not one you share with other members of your organization) and to know your CM/ECF username and password.  (If you know your username but not your password, you can reset your password here.  If you do not remember either your username or password, complete this online request.)  You will be prompted to link your accounts the first time you log in to CM/ECF on or after February 18, 2020.  The linking process is simple, but step-by-step instructions, with screenshots, are available here

After you have linked your CM/ECF media account to your PACER account, you will be able to add or remove specific civil and criminal non-sealed cases to your notification list at any time.  For instructions on how to do this, see the document attached here.  Media members may choose between receiving daily summary NEF emails that are sent at midnight or individual NEF emails that are sent when each particular document is filed.

For questions concerning this service, please contact the CM/ECF Helpdesk at (213) 894-0242 or ecf-helpdesk@cacd.uscourts.gov.