Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley who serves as Chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus, introduced the bipartisan Electronic Court Records Reform Act (ECRRA) to eliminate the paywall on public court records. The legislation, which he introduced along with Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (GA-09), also modernizes the antiquated website which provides access to federal court filings and case records.
ECRRA would guarantee free public access to federal court records through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, which currently charges the public a fee to access documents. The bill would also require updates to the PACER system, including adding a function to enable all users to search its catalog of court documents easily. Currently, litigants are handicapped because they cannot conduct research through the system.
The Electronic Court Records Reform Act:
• Makes accessing court records in the PACER System free to the public rather than charging per page.
• Requires improvements to the PACER System to make documents more accessible.
• Promotes accessibility by enabling direct links to documents.
• Requires audio and visual court records be made available on the PACER System.
• Consolidates the Case Management/Electronic Filing System (CM/ECF) to ensure uniform access for all litigants.
• Updates CM/ECF with new technology in order to enhance security.
Read the Complete Announcement
Now when you look at civil cases in RECAP, you’ll see a new tab for the “Integrated Database”. In the tab, you’ll see a wealth of new information about the case including everything from the county where the plaintiff lives to the outcome of the case. This data is *useful*. pic.twitter.com/F5plcNXEWT
— Free Law Project ⚖ (@FreeLawProject) February 14, 2019