Exciting news!  The law library has recently added PACER to the legal research resources available in the law library.

What is PACER?

PACER, which is an acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records, is an electronic public access service of United States federal court documents. It allows users to obtain case and docket information from the United States district courts, United States courts of appeal, and United States bankruptcy courts.  This service is maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.  The funding to support PACER is derived entirely from user fees.


The PACER database contains federal case and docket information (except for Supreme Court dockets).  Dockets are the equivalent to the roadmap of a case. It tells the user what documents were filed, and when documents were filed for a case.  In addition, PACER also provides access to the underlying documents filed for the case.

Astute legal researchers know that docket information is available via other online databases (Westlaw, for example).  However, the law library’s Westlaw subscription does not include access to federal dockets and filings.  If your legal research requires federal dockets, PACER is your way to access them.

Searching in PACER

The PACER Case Locator (PCL) is a national index for district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts.  Patrons can use this search tool to conduct nationwide searches to determine if a party is involved with any federal cases.  If you know the court where your case is located, you can limit your search to a specific court to reduce the number of results.

You may search by case number, party name, Social Security number, or tax identification number in U.S. bankruptcy courts. In district courts, you may search by case number, party name, or filing date range. And for appellate courts, you may search by case number or party name.

Case information is available in PACER once it has been filed or entered in the courts Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system.

How do you access PACER?

PACER can only be used in the law library.  If you want to use PACER, please contact one of the law librarians, who will log you into the system.  There is no user charge to access PACER at the law library, though regular printing charges (15 cents/page) will apply.

For more information, please come visit the law library!


Comments are closed.