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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 account via PACER. N.B. If you are already an electronic filer with another NextGen court, you must Manage My Account and update it for Third Circuit use.

  • 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.
  • 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?

    Yes.  As long as you have an upgraded PACER account that has been linked to a filing account, the PACER login and password can be used to file.  Please review PACER's Electronic Learning Modules (ELMs).

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

    Individual court accounts must be linked to an upgaded PACER account.  Please review PACER's Electronic Learning Modules (ELMs).  Once the accounts are linked, the PACER credentials can be used to file.

  • Why am I receiving an error message that I have an "invalid ID or password"?
    • You are using old credentials intended for individual courts.  Users must link their Appellate Filer Account to an upgraded PACER account.  Please review PACER's Electronic Learning Module (ELM).  Instructions to link accounts begin at frame 46.
    • You are entering the username and/or password incorrectly.  N.B. The username 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 usernames and/or passwords.  N.B.  Once submitting the request, PACER will require the answers to security questions before retrieving the forgotten information.


  • 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 account. This can also be done at a later time when you Manage My 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.

  • Docketing

    How can I tell if a case participant is receiving electronic notice?
    • Access the Service List report in CM/ECF.
    • 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 Third Circuit Electronic Filer Dictionary, 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.  Please "print to PDF" to flatten the document before filing.

  • 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 pop-up window indicating "[t]he filing has been completed successfully", 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.

  • 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."  For briefs, motions, etc., this format is achieved by "printing to PDF" from a word processing program.  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 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 Account.
    • NDAs, which are automated e-mails, are being diverted to a "Junk" or "Spam" folder.
  • What do I do when I receive a message indicating "you must enable cookies" when logging in?