May 06, 2019 Top Story

Revised Federal Rules Focus on E-filing

Appellate rules changes focus on disqualification of judges from amicus briefs

By Andrew J. Kennedy

On December 1, 2018, thirty years after the Judicial Conference of the United States first established its Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, the Federal Rules of Procedure have made a significant step towards complete electronic filing of papers.

PACER has allowed the federal system to make a significant step towards the electronic filing of papers

PACER has allowed the federal system to make a significant step towards the electronic filing of papers

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The changes affect both the civil rules and appellate rules. While ABA Section of Litigation leaders welcome the changes, they do caution that some of the changes could trip up the unwary.

Civil Rules Embrace E-filing

Under revised Rule 5 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, service can now be accomplished by e-filing in addition to all of the other methods. Parties represented by an attorney are now required to e-file all papers, unless the court or local rules require otherwise, whereas unrepresented parties must still file by paper. Moreover, under the revised civil rules, documents filed using the judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system do not require a certificate of service.

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