The Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington requires all attorneys, trustees and examiners to file papers electronically using the Court's Electronic Case Filing ("ECF") system. See Local Bankruptcy Rule 5005-1 and the Court's Electronic Filing Procedures.
1. What is ECF?
ECF is the Court's case management system that allows authorized users to electronically file, view and retrieve bankruptcy petitions and other documents (e.g. motions, objections, claims) via the Internet using a standard web browser.
2. Is there a fee to use ECF?
No, there is no fee to use ECF.
3. Who is authorized to file documents and pleadings electronically?
Only attorneys, trustees and examiners can register to file pleadings electronically through ECF. Institutional creditors can register for an account that allows a limited number of documents to be filed electronically. See the information under "Registration Forms." Members of the general public do not have access to ECF or unlimited electronic filing capability.
Proofs of claim and claims related documents can be filed electronically without the need for an ECF account through "Claims E-Filing", accessed through the Court's website.
4. How do attorneys and creditors register for ECF?
Attorneys and creditors can register for an ECF account by completing and submitting to the Court an Attorney Registration Form or a Limited Use Registration Form (for creditors). See the information under "Registration Forms."
5. How can members of the general public or parties filing without an attorney view documents that have been filed electronically?
Computer terminals are available in the lobbies of the clerk's office in Seattle and Tacoma for the public to use to view electronic case files. Remote access to the court's electronic case files is available to the general public with a PACER login and password.
6. Do I need a PACER account to use ECF?
No, however registered ECF users may want to establish a PACER account. Attorneys, trustees, and examiners with current ECF registration will receive a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) whenever a document is electronically filed in a case in which they are an interested party. The NEF contains a hyperlink to the newly filed document. The registered ECF user is able to click on the hyperlink and view the document one time without incurring a charge. To view additional documents, search the ECF database or generate reports within ECF, a PACER account is required.
Members of the general public and parties who have filed without an attorney will need a PACER account to remotely access the court's electronic case files. Alternatively, there is public access to electronic case files in the clerk's offices during business hours.
7. How do I get a PACER account?
Visit the PACER Service Center's website at www.PACER.gov for more information about PACER, information on registering for an account, and how to access and use PACER. Note that there are fees associated with PACER use; however, if quarterly PACER usage does not exceed $15, fees for that quarter are waived.
8. How does the Court's ECF system work?
To file a document electronically, attorneys convert their word processing documents to a format called PDF ("Portable Document Format") then transmit the documents to the Court over the internet through a registered ECF account. ECF generates an electronic acknowledgement to the attorney, verifying that the document has been successfully transmitted. The PDF of the document is then accessible through the ECF electronic case docket.
9. Does the court accept documents that are filed in paper?
Attorneys, trustees and examiners are required to file documents electronically; other parties may submit paper documents to the Court for filing. Paper documents are scanned by court staff so that the document image can be made available through the ECF system. See Local Bankruptcy Rule 5005-2, Conventional Filing, for more information
10. What are the hardware and software requirements for using ECF?
a. Internet access/internet service provider (ISP).
b. An internet browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox.
c. Software to convert electronic documents or scanned images to PDF format. Most software for PDF creation must be purchased. If you are using third party petition preparation software, check with your vendor as to which PDF creation software is compatible.
d. A scanner to create a PDF document from paper documents that you are not creating in a word processing format (for example, exhibits such as notes, deeds of trust, etc.).
11. What type of ECF training is available?
The Court has interactive, online ECF training available for free on the Court's website. The list of ECF Interactive Training modules is organized by topic and is always available, even when the clerk's office is closed. New attorney users are required to participate in certain interactive training lessons prior to finalizing their ECF Registration.
12. Who do I contact for more information?
Live Chat (8:30am-4:30pm M-F)
For cases filed in Seattle: (206) 370-5280 (8:30am-4:30pm M-F)
For cases filed in Tacoma: (253) 882-3939 (8:30am-4:30pm M-F)