Thursday, September 18, 2014

US Federal Courts Data Conversion Explained

Many of you may have read about the controversy regarding some of the US Federal Courts "losing" PACER case file information.  Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal clarifies.


“On August 11, a change was made to the PACER architecture in preparation for the implementation of the Next Generation of the Judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files System. NextGen replaces the older CM/ECF system and provides improvements for users, including a single sign-on for PACER and NextGen.

As a result of these architectural changes, the locally developed legacy case management systems in four courts of appeals and one bankruptcy court are now incompatible with PACER, and therefore the judiciary is no longer able to provide electronic access to the closed cases on those systems. The dockets and documents in these cases can be obtained directly from the relevant court. All open cases, as well as any new filings, will continue to be available on PACER.”
 Most do not understand that local District and Bankruptcy Federal Courts were in the past allowed to innovate and create their own systems.  The benefit of this policy approach resulted in the advent of successful PACER, ECF, and later CM systems.  And in earlier posts, we have followed their NextGen system design work.

Therefore, these normal upgrade issues can, and if deemed important, be addressed at a later stage.

1 comment:

  1. There was an update issued on September 19, 2014 from the Administrative Office of the US Courts. According to this Washington Post blog post: ""The Administrative Office is working to restore electronic access to these cases by converting the docket sheets in these cases to PDF format which will allow us to make them available in PACER." The article is available here: