The Federal Judiciary has developed a Next Generation (NextGen) Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system that will allow attorneys to use the same account for both the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system and electronic filing access. E-filers will be required to use an individual PACER login and password for access to the electronic filing system. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois plans to implement NextGen on May 2, 2022. After this implementation date, the username and password that an e-filer currently uses to access the Court's CM/ECF system will not work with NextGen.
What Is New For Attorneys In NextGen?
One key feature of NextGen is "Central Sign-On," a new functionality that will allow attorneys, others with permission to electronically file, and parties receiving electronic service of court documents to maintain one account across all NextGen courts (appellate, bankruptcy, and district). E-filers will be able to use one login and password to e-file in every NextGen court where they have been granted e-filing privileges. The same login and password will be used to access PACER to view dockets and other case information for all federal courts, including those that have not yet upgraded to NextGen.
E-filers must do the following in order to file in NextGen:
- Obtain your own individual PACER account or upgrade your existing individual PACER account.
- Know your current Northern District of Illinois CM/ECF login and password. Note: If you're seeking to e-file ONLY and have never received login privileges with Illinois Northern District Court, click here for instructions.
- View the Preparing for NextGen Flowchart and complete the instructions.
- Refer to the Reference document for linking your PACER account to ECF on the day we go LIVE.
CJA Panel Attorneys will need only one PACER account for filing and viewing in NextGen. If you have a separate exempt CJA account now, those exempt privileges will need to be added to your individual upgraded PACER account.
- How do I know if I have an upgraded PACER account?
Upgraded PACER accounts have usernames that are at least 8 characters. You may have upgraded your PACER account recently if you practice before another court that already has migrated to NextGen, such as the Seventh Circuit. If your username is 6 characters, you do not have an upgraded account. Go to https://www.pacer.gov and click on Manage My Account to upgrade your PACER account.
- What happens to my CM/ECF account after the court transitions to NextGen?
After the Court upgrades to NextGen on May 2, 2022, you must link your current CM/ECF account to your PACER account. After the accounts are linked, you will no longer use your CM/ECF username or password to file in this Court.
- My law firm uses a shared PACER account. Can we continue to use that account?
Not for e-filing. Each attorney must have an individual PACER account to use for electronic filing in NextGen. The law firm can create a PACER Administrative Account (PAA) to manage the billing for all of the individual accounts. Staff members who share a PACER account only for research can continue to share. NOTE: The PAA will not allow access to case information. For more information on PAA Accounts review Information regarding PACER Administrative Accounts. To register for a PACER Administrative Account, visit https://www.pacer.gov/reg_firm.html.
- I linked my account when the Court of Appeals or another District or Bankruptcy Court converted. Do I have to link my account again?
Yes, once the Illinois Northern District Court is live on NextGen, you must link your PACER account to your Northern District of Illinois CM/ECF filing account before you can file in this Court.
- I am a CJA attorney, and I currently have two PACER accounts. Will I continue to need two accounts with NextGen?
CJA Attorneys will only need one PACER account for filing and viewing in CM/ECF NextGen. If you have a separate exempt CJA account now, those exempt privileges will be added to your individual upgraded PACER account; and your current exempt account will be canceled.
If you still have a PACER account that was created prior to August 2014 (Legacy PACER Account) and have not been upgraded (PACER id is only 6 characters long), you must upgrade your legacy PACER account. You can use this instruction to guide you through the steps on how to upgrade your PACER account:
It is critically important to note that each NextGen user must have their own individual PACER account. Specifically, this means that a firm with one shared PACER login account must register each user with their own unique individual PACER account and password. If you currently share a PACER login within your firm, you must register for your own PACER login*.