Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance

Electronic Filing and Case Access for Attorneys

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Under Local Rule 5-4.1 and Local Criminal Rule 49-1.1, electronic filing is mandatory for attorneys in all civil and criminal cases in the Central District of California.  All documents must be filed electronically unless exempted by Local Rule 5-4.2 or Local Criminal Rule 49-1.2. 

In order to e-file in the Central District, attorneys must first have an individual account (that is, not one you share with your whole firm) with PACER (the “Public Access to Court Electronic Records” system).  Visit the PACER website (www.pacer.gov) or call the PACER Service Center at (800) 676-6856 to register for a new account. 

If all you want to do is to review case dockets or documents filed by others, the PACER account is all you need.  To e-file, however, that PACER account must be registered with the Court’s electronic filing system (the “Case Management/Electronic Case Filing” system, or “CM/ECF”).  Registration is only required once, after which logging in to PACER with your individual PACER account will enable you both to e-file and to review case dockets.  This page is designed to guide attorneys through the registration process and to help troubleshoot login issues. 

Experienced e-filers should note that both the registration and login processes changed on February 18, 2020, when the Central District upgraded to NextGen, the next generation of CM/ECF software.  You will not be able to e-file after February 18, 2020 until you link your old CM/ECF account to your individual, upgraded PACER account.  The first time you log in to CM/ECF on or after February 18, 2020, you will be required to link your old CM/ECF account to your individual, upgraded PACER account.  This only needs to be done once by logging in to your individual PACER account.  The linking process is simple, but step-by-step instructions, with screenshots, are available here.

If you want to e-file, but you have never e-filed in the Central District before or just need more information, answer the questions below:

1. Have You Been Admitted to Practice in the Central District of California?

Only attorneys admitted to practice in the Central District, either as a member of this Court’s Bar or pro hac vice in a particular case, may e-file as attorneys.

  • If you are a member in good standing of the State Bar of California and you would like to apply for admission to the Bar of this Court, click here. You will receive information about your e-filing access upon the approval of your application for admission.
  • If you would like to apply to be admitted pro hac vice in a particular case, review Local Rule 83-2.1.3, complete form G-64 (available here), and have your local counsel file the form electronically in your case. You will receive information about your e-filing access upon the approval of your application.
  • If you are an attorney admitted elsewhere and plan to appear pro se on your own behalf in this Court, you may be eligible to apply for permission to e-file on a per-case basis. Please click here for more information.

2. Have You Previously E-Filed in the Central District?

If you have never e-filed in the Central District, or don’t think you have, you may apply for e-filing privileges by visiting the PACER website at www.pacer.gov. Click "Manage My Account" in the upper right corner of the screen, log in using your individual upgraded PACER account, and select the "Maintenance" tab. Select "Attorney Admissions/E-File Registration," choose "U.S. District Courts" and the Central District of California from the dropdown menus, click on the "E-File Registration Only" button, and follow the instructions. Your request will be submitted to the Central District. If approved, you will be notified that your e-filing privileges have been activated.

3. When Was the Last Time You E-Filed in the Central District?

The Central District of California upgraded its CM/ECF software to the Next Generation (“NextGen”) of CM/ECF on February 18, 2020. Users who had access to the prior version of CM/ECF will need to link their old CM/ECF accounts to their PACER accounts after February 18, 2020, in order to maintain access to e-filing and other CM/ECF functions. If you have e-filed in the Central District since the Court updated its electronic filing software to NextGen, then you have already completed this step. From this point forward, the only username and password that you need to remember are those issued to you by PACER. If you have forgotten your PACER username or password, try using the reset/retrieve options on the PACER website at https://www.pacer.gov/reqpswd.html. For additional help, call the PACER Service Center at 1-800-676-6856.

4. Do You Remember Your Old CM/ECF Username and Password?

If you know your old CM/ECF login and password, log in to CM/ECF one last time using your old CM/ECF credentials. You will be prompted to link your CM/ECF account to your individual, upgraded PACER account. You will only need to do this once. After you link your CM/ECF account to your PACER account, you will only need to remember your PACER login and password. When you e-file, use your PACER credentials to log in. The linking process is simple, but step-by-step instructions are available here.

5. Is the Email Address on File for You in CM/ECF Current?

If you’re not sure that the email address on file for you in CM/ECF is current, then click here to complete an online request form. Court staff will review the information you submit. If it can be verified, an email will be sent to your new email address containing your CM/ECF username and a link that will allow you to reset your password. You may then use that information to link your CM/ECF account to your PACER account; you will be prompted to do so when you log in to CM/ECF. After you link your PACER account to the Court’s e-filing system, you will only need to remember your PACER login and password. When you e-file, use your PACER credentials to log in. The linking process is simple, but step-by-step instructions are available here.

6. Do You Remember Your Old CM/ECF Username?

Click here to complete an online request form. Court staff will review the information you submit. If it can be verified, an email will be sent to the email address on file for your account containing your CM/ECF username and a link that will allow you to reset your password. You may then use that information to link your CM/ECF account to your PACER account; you will be prompted to do so when you log in to CM/ECF. After you link your PACER account to the Court’s e-filing system, you will only need to remember your PACER login and password. When you e-file, use your PACER credentials to log in. The linking process is simple, but step-by-step instructions are available here.

If you know your old CM/ECF username, but have forgotten your password, click here to reset your password using your username. An email will be sent to the email address on file for your account. The email will include a link that will allow you to reset your CM/ECF password. You may then use the reset password to link your CM/ECF account to your PACER account; you will be prompted to do so when you log in to CM/ECF. After you link your CM/ECF account to your PACER account, you will only need to remember your PACER login and password. When you e-file, use your PACER credentials to log in. The linking process is simple, but step-by-step instructions are available here.