Understanding Modern Technology and the Bankruptcy Process

Today, most federal and state court systems have come into the modern age of technology. This article should help you to understand how modern technology is used in the federal bankruptcy process.

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Using Modern Technology in the Bankruptcy Process (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Use of Modern Technology in the Federal Bankruptcy System

In 2001, the federal government introduced the federal judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system which has revolutionized the way in which federal courts interact with the public and manage their cases and documents. The modern technology of the electronic filing system allows bankruptcy attorneys to file documents directly with the court over the internet. In turn, the courts can now manage the documents by filing and storing the cases in a transparent way.

The files are public information, and anyone wanting to access the information needs only to pay a small fee to easily access it. Some information, like a bankruptcy court judge’s opinion, can be accessed free of charge.

Public Access to Court Electronic Records, commonly called PACER, “is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts, and the PACER Case Locator via the Internet. PACER is provided by the federal Judiciary in keeping with its commitment to providing public access to court information via a centralized service.”

Modern Technology Related to User Information

Modern technology today usually means that a user of the system has some knowledge of computer technology. Understanding what type of hardware and software can go a long way in helping you set up your electronic equipment to access the modern technology of the bankruptcy system.

Filing documents into CM/ECF electronic filing systems requires the following hardware and software (note: this list was taken directly off the government court’s website):

  • A personal computer running a standard platform such as Windows or Mac OS X.

  • A PDF-compatible word processor like Corel, WordPerfect, or Microsoft Word.

  • Access to the internet via some type of internet service.

  • For district and bankruptcy CM/ECF, a Web browser. Mozilla Firefox 2 or 1.5, or Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or 6.0 are recommended. Some users have had positive experiences with other Web browsers, but those listed here have been tested and certified for compatibility with CM/ECF. Mozilla Firefox can be downloaded at no cost.

  • For appellate CM/ECF 2.0, Firefox and Internet Explorer with the Java 1.6 plug-in. Mac users need software that allows Windows to run on a Mac (e.g.,
    Fusion, Parallels, BootCamp). The software does not otherwise run on Mac computers because Apple has not released a port of the current version of Java 1.6.

  • Software to convert documents from a word processor format to portable document format (PDF). Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional is recommended. Adobe Acrobat 7 Professional, Adobe Acrobat 6 Professional, and Acrobat Writer 5.0 adequately meet the CM/ECF filing requirements.

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available for free, is needed for viewing PDF documents.

  • A scanner may be necessary to create electronic images of documents that are not in your word processing system.
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