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CM/ECF - Frequently Asked Questions

  • Access

    Is electronic filing mandatory?

    Yes, electronic filing is mandatory for attorneys as of December 15, 2008.  Pro Se Litigants are exempt and may file paper documents with the Clerk’s Office.

  • How do I become an electronic filer (Attorney, Pro Se or Court Reporter)?

    Please register for an Appellate Filer Account via PACER. N.B. If you are already an electronic filer with another circuit, you must Manage My Appellate Filer Account and "register for additional courts."

  • Who may electronically file with the Third Circuit?
    • Attorneys – Must be members of the Third Circuit Bar
    • Pro Se litigants – Must have an open case before the court.
  • Is training required to be an electronic filer with the Third Circuit?

    No.  However, WebEx training is scheduled upon request.  It is also recommended that filers review the User Manual.

  • Why can’t I file immediately after registering for or managing an Appellate Filer Account?

    Registrations, and some updates, require approval by Third Circuit staff, which may take up to 2 business days.  A PACER generated e-mail is sent upon approval.  Early registration is recommended to avoid missing deadlines.

  • Can I use my PACER login and password to file?

    No.  PACER is Public Access to Court Electric Records that have already been filed.  You must use an Appellate Filer (Legacy) Account to file with the Third Circuit.

  • Can I use my District or Bankruptcy court login and password for Appellate CM/ECF?

    No.  You must register for an Appellate Filer (Legacy) Account that can be used for Appellate courts only.

  • Why am I receiving an error message that I have an "incorrect login and/or password"?
    • You are using credentials intended for PACER or District or Bankruptcy courts.
    • You have not updated your Appellate Filer (Legacy) Account for Third Circuit use.
    • You are entering the login and/or password incorrectly.  N.B. The login and password are case sensitive.
    • You are using the wrong link to log in.
  • How do I retrieve a forgotten login and/or password?

    PACER provides a mechanism to request forgotten logins and/or passwords.  N.B.  Once submitting the request, PACER will require the answers to security questions before retrieving the forgotten information.


  • Why am I being directed to "check the redaction rules checkbox" when I have already checked it off?
    • It is likely you need to clear the cache.
    • Close all browser windows.
    • Open a new browser and log in again.
  • How can I have my co-counsel/support staff receive notice when I do?

    Include the additional e-mail addresses in the Additional Emails field when registering for an Appellate Filer Account. This can also be done at a later time when you Manage My Appellate Filer Account.  N.B.  Case participants and their additional recipients receive "one free look" of filed documents upon receipt of the NDA (Notice of Docket Activity).  The free look expires 15 days from the date the NDA is issued.

  • How can I receive notice when I am not a case participant?

    Review the Public Interested Person Manual if you have an existing account, or register for an Appellate Filer Account as "other (not a public filer)."  N.B.  Public Interested Persons do not receive "one free look" of filed documents.

  • Docketing

    How can I tell if a case participant is receiving electronic notice?
    • Access the Service List report in CM/ECF (see image below)

    • Access the Docket Report via PACER.  Case participants listed with an e-mail address receive electronic notice.  Case participants with only a physical mailing address must be served with paper copies (usually Pro Se litigants only).
  • Does my document need a Certificate of Service?

    Yes.  A Certificate of Service is required for all filings and should be the last page of the document.  See L.A.R. Misc. 113.4(c).

  • How late can I file?

    Appellate CM/ECF is accessible 24 hours a day.  Electronic filings are timely if done by 11:59pm on the due date unless otherwise specified by Order.  N.B.  The application will be unavailable from 8am until 12pm on the second Sunday of each month for general maintenance.  The application may be unavailable outside of the regularly scheduled downtime if the need for maintenance arises.

  • Does the Clerk’s Office require paper copies of a document electronically filed?

    Paper copies are required for the following:

    • Briefs and addenda to briefs – 7 copies
    • Appendices and addenda to appendices – 4 copies
    • Pre Sentence Reports – 4 copies
    • Statements of Reasons – 4 copies
    • Transcripts of Oral Argument – 3 copies

    All other *documents should be filed electronically only.

    *Case initiating documents in original proceedings must be filed in paper only; 1 copy is needed.  Once the case is opened in this court, electronic filing will commence.

  • Must paper copies be delivered to the Clerk’s Office the same day as the electronic filing?

    No.  Paper copies must be delivered to the Clerk’s Office within 5 days of the electronic filing.

  • What event should I use to file my document?

    Please review the User Manual, which provides a list of events (transactions) and reliefs (used for ‘motion’ transactions) organized into categories.

  • Should sealed documents be filed electronically?

    Yes.  Please select an event from the Sealed category, or use an event with a title beginning with "SEALED."

  • Are forms available on the Third Circuit website?

    Yes, PDF writable forms are available.

  • Why am I "not authorized to file this event in this case"?

    Attorneys should file an Entry of Appearance, which must be reviewed and processed by Clerk’s Office staff, in order to use events outside of the Case Opening category.  Please contact your Case Manager when making an emergency filing.

  • When will my document appear on the Docket Report?

    Immediately.  Once you receive the following pop-up, your event is posted to the Docket Report:

  • Technical

    What is the maximum file size for an individual PDF?

    50 MB.

    N.B.  Multiple PDFs can be attached to a single event.  Click the Add Another button after attaching the first PDF.

  • What can I do to ensure that I do not exceed the PDF size limit?

    Local Appellate Rule 113.3(b) states that "[d]ocuments created by the filer and filed electronically must be in PDF text format."  This format is achieved by converting/publishing to PDF from a word processing program and generates a smaller PDF file.  When *scanning appendix material, set your scanner to black & white and 300 DPI/PPI (Dots Per Inch / Pixels Per Inch).  Since font size, spacing and graphics affect the file size, we are unable to specify how many pages the size limit can hold.  If the PDF is larger than the size limit, separate the document into smaller files.  N.B.  Multiple PDFs can be attached to a single event. Click the Add Another button after attaching the first PDF.  

    *Please apply OCR (Optical Character Recognition) when scanning to create text searchable PDFs.

  • Why am I seeing only a dark, grey screen after logging in?

    Java has not loaded.  Please download Java and/or enable it for your browser.

    You are not using a browser that supports Java.  PC - use Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.  Mac - use Mozilla Firefox or Safari.

      Mozilla Firefox - The Java plugin may not run automatically.  Click here for more information -

      Google Chrome no longer supports Java.  Click here for more information -

      Mozilla Firefox versions 52 and above do not support Java.  Click here for more information -

      Users with 64-bit operating systems -

    1. Why is the website not displaying properly (menus are not expanding, etc.)?

      Some sites have been designed for earlier versions of Internet Explorer.  Click the Compatibility View button (see circled image below) to reload the site.

    2. Why am I unable to save a completed, PDF writable form?

      You do not have the appropriate software (e.g. Adobe Writer).  Please print out the completed form and scan it to PDF for filing.

    3. Why am I receiving an ‘XML Tampering Error’?

      The CM/ECF application is unable to recognize your document.  The following may resolve this:

      • Clear the cache from your browser.
      • Rename the document.  Special characters (e.g. apostrophe) may not be recognized by CM/ECF.
      • Rename the Description (see image below).  Special characters (e.g. apostrophe) may not be recognized by CM/ECF


    4. Why am I receiving an ‘Error Parsing PDF’ error?

      The PDF was created with Adobe 9 and must be made compatible.

    5. Why am I receiving a "Bad Annotation" error?

      There is a problem with the PDF, which can occur during conversion/publishing, scanning or when separately created PDFs are combined into a single file.  "Print to PDF" if the feature is available.  Otherwise, rescan the documents into a single PDF.

      *Please apply OCR (Optical Character Recognition) when scanning to create text searchable PDFs.

    6. What do I do if I have selected a PDF to upload, but it is not attaching (continually spinning circle or hour glass icon)?
      • Cancel your docketing event.
      • Log out of CM/ECF.
      • Log back into CM/ECF.
      • When receiving the Java security prompt, check off the "Do not show..." statement and then click Run.
    7. Why am I not receiving NDAs (Notice of Docketing Activity)?
      • You have not yet filed an Entry of Appearance, which must be reviewed and processed by the Case Manager.
      • Your e-mail address is incorrect.  Confirm your primary and additional e-mail addresses using PACER to Manage My Appellate Filer Account.
      • NDAs, which are automated e-mails, are being diverted to a "Junk" or "Spam" folder.
    8. What do I do when I receive a message indicating "you must enable cookies" when logging in?
    9. Why am I receiving an error while downloading the JNLP file (Mac users with June release of Java 1.6 installed)?

      Apple has moved Java from /Applications/Utilities/Java/Java Web Start to /System/Library/CoreServices/Java Web Start.  This can be changed in the browser preferences.  Testing has indicated that Safari works after installing the Java patch released by Apple.  Firefox requires a manual change.  N.B.  All public filer functionality will work on a Mac with the Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 4 patch, which installs Java 1.6, Update 13.