Are there new court rules, general orders or guidelines which apply specifically to CM/ECF?

See Hawaii Bankruptcy Local Rules and General Orders.

  How are documents transmitted by ECF, filed by the court?
  This court does not intend to keep paper documents. Case files will consist entirely of electronic images. If a document is sent to the court through ECF, the transmitted PDF file will serve as the CM/ECF document image. If a document is submitted on paper, then the document will be scanned and the resulting PDF document will be added to the electronic file. The paper document will be destroyed.

In most cases, ECF users will transmit documents and will not be required to give the court a paper copy. However, attorneys who file new cases will be required to send an originally signed affidavit of filing to the court to provide a record that the debtors are aware of the filing and acknowledge the accuracy of the petition and schedules. This document will be imaged by court staff and then discarded.

  If I file new cases, proceedings or pleadings which require a filing fee, how is the fee paid?
  Filing fees are paid by credit card. Participating attorneys should prepare for CM/ECF by establishing a credit card account for use in paying such fees and by setting up internal office policies concerning staff who will have access to the credit card numbers and use of the account.

Filing fees are due when a case or document requiring a fee is due. During the docketing routine the filing party will be asked whether the fee should be paid. If the user answers yes, the user will be prompted to enter a credit card number and amount to be charged to that account. It is possible to pay fees for several cases or matters at the end of a session and not enter payment information separately for each case or document.

In normal cases, the court will expect the user to pay all fees when filing a case or pleading. If this is not done, the court may dismiss the case or strike the pleadings, and the court may also sanction the attorney. In some Chapter 7 cases an attorney will represent a client who wishes to pay the filing fee in installments. Attorneys filing such cases can file an appropriate application to pay in installments and can pay the initial installment when filing the case.

  Is there a charge for using CM/ECF?
  There are no charges for using CM/ECF. Furthermore, you will receive an instantaneous notification of filing when you transmit a document to the court. A notification will also be sent to any other registered users who are parties to the case, and both you and the other parties will be able to view the filed document without charge.

However, you will still be charged for viewing case information and document images in existing cases. If you wish to view documents in a case file you will still have to log in to PACER. See PACER Fees.

  Who gets a "free look" at documents that are electronically noticed?
Public users are billed for pages accessed in CM/ECF (other than opinions), except when they receive a Notice of Electronic Filing via email. If they click on the hyperlink to the document which was filed, they will not be asked to log in and will not be billed for this first view. A free look is also available to any additional email addresses that participants wish to include in their CM/ECF user account information. This free view is only available during the first 15 days after the docket entry is made. If they access the same document again, they will have to log in (if they are not already logged in) and will be charged; to avoid additional charges, they should download the document during the first (free) viewing. A charge is incurred if the recipient is not a participant (party or attorney) in the case. All public users are charged for access to the docket report if they click the case number link on the Notice of Electronic Filing and run the report.
  What assistance is available from the Bankruptcy Court to help me make the transition to this program?

The Bankruptcy Court provides the following:
Scheduled training classes for new users provide an overview of CM/ECF procedures and policies.
A CMECF Help Desk is staffed during normal working hours to answer questions about filing procedures and provide technical help to resolve automation issues.

  What hardware and software do I need to access CM/ECF?

See Hardware and Software Requirements.

  What is the basic procedure for filing documents using CM/ECF?
  CM/ECF is far more than just a method for transmitting documents to the court in electronic format. When a new case or document is sent to the court, the user will input case information which will create the docket text for the new event or set up a new case in our system. The user will attach the filed document to the docket text and the system will generate a receipt showing the filing date and transmit the receipt to both the user and to any parties who are registered CM/ECF users in the case. This notification will contain a hyperlink to the document so that the parties will be able to actually view the filed document.

Here are the basic steps:

  • The user creates the document using some type of word processing software and converts the document to a PDF file.
  • The user logs into the court CM/ECF server using the login and password which is provided after court training.
  • The user will then select the area of this program which contains a list of types of documents which can be docketed and filed. Upon selection of the correct type of document the user will then be prompted to enter case information needed to create the appropriate docket entry.
  • The user will be prompted to attach the PDF document for filing and this document will be linked to the docket text.
  • The user will be prompted to pay the filing fee if one is required.
  • The user will be shown the docket text which has been created. If the text is approved, the document will be filed and the filer will receive a receipt which indicates the exact time and date on which the document was filed. Other parties will receive a notification at the same time of the filing and will be able to view the filed document.
  What is the difference between CM/ECF and PACER?
  CM/ECF is a Case Management system with Electronic Case Files. Registered users will receive a CM/ECF login, which they can use to file documents electronically.

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is a nationally developed system, which courts around the country are using, to bill the public when querying court records and imaged documents through the Internet. After CM/ECF is implemented, those with PACER accounts can continue to use these same logins and passwords to query CM/ECF case information. Both the PACER and CM/ECF logins may be combined, to eliminate logging in twice. Billing will continue to occur when using PACER for query, but not when filing documents electronically with the court using CM/ECF. See billing for more information.

  What should I do to become a registered CM/ECF user?

In order to use CM/ECF you need a login and a password, which you may receive only upon taking a four-hour course presented by Bankruptcy Court staff in our training room at the court in Honolulu. The training program is given without charge and is open to attorneys and paralegal staff. Upon completion of the course, participants are given a login and password. At this time there is no specific plan to do training on the outer islands, but if there is sufficient demand and if we can find a suitable location, this is a possibility. Contact the Clerk's Office CMECF Help Desk for more information.

Attorneys who are registered CM/ECF users in other states may be users in this court without taking the training course. Requests will be handled on a case by case basis. Such users should contact the Clerk's Office to determine whether this is possible.

  What should I do to prepare for CM/ECF ?
  1. Assess your office equipment and software – Look at your office automation equipment and make sure that you and the staff who will be electronically filing documents will have what they need. See AO recommended minimum requirements.
  2. Look at your software to make sure that you have a good word processing program and an application which will convert the documents to PDF format. Make sure that you have installed a browser which is recommended for this purpose. If you will be filing cases by ECF, look at the commercial software packages which are designed specifically for bankruptcy and which greatly simplify document preparation.
  3. Evaluate your Internet connection. If you are connecting to the Internet through a dial-up modem, your connection time will be very slow. Consider upgrading to a broadband connection, such as cable or DSL.
  4. Set up a credit card account for payment of filing fees and determine who on your staff will have access to the card number. Set up appropriate accounting procedures.
  5. Set up office procedures for filing cases and reviewing documents before they are transmitted and filed. You may delegate to anyone, the ability to file cases or other documents, but the attorney will always be responsible for the final product. Determine who will receive the CM/ECF training and contact the Clerk's Office CMECF Help Desk for information on training sessions.
  6. Everyone who attends a training session should know how to convert documents to PDF format. They should also have knowledge about how to use a web browser and should have familiarity with Internet access.

If all of the above has been accomplished, you are ready to take our training course and become a registered user.

  Will CM/ECF become mandatory in the future?

At this time the court is offering CM/ECF on a voluntary basis. It is possible that CM/ECF use will become mandatory in the future.

  Where can I read more about CM/ECF?
  Visit these national sites:

United States Courts and CM/ECF

PACER Service Center FAQs

PACER Service Center CM/ECF FAQs



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