United States District Court - Northern District Court of California

Claudia Wilken, Chief Judge

Richard W. Wieking, Clerk of Court

Obtaining Information about Cases

There are two ways to obtain current and complete information about cases pending in the court: 

Viewing the Online Docket via PACER

PACER is the judiciary’s electronic method of providing access to court dockets and to copies of documents filed with the court. You may register for PACER online (www.pacer.gov. . .). There is no registration fee, but the Judicial Conference of the United States has established a user fee to be collected for access to PACER by all registered agencies or individuals:

"PACER charges $0.10 per page retrieved. This applies to both the pages of search results and the pages of documents you retrieve. /The charge for any single document is capped at $3.00, the equivalent of 30 pages. The cap does not apply to name searches, reports that are not case-specific, and transcripts of federal court proceedings. /If you accrue a total of less than $15.00 worth of charges in any given quarter, fees are waived for that quarter."

(Quoted from www.pacer.gov . . . )

Via PACER, you can examine the docket for a particular case, which will provide the names of all parties, the names and contact information for the attorneys of record and an itemization of every document filed in the case by name, filer and date. Case documents are accessible from the docket via hyperlinks.

Registering for Email Announcements through CM/ECF

The court also makes it possible for journalists and interested members of the public to register for so-called "Special Mailing Group (SMG)" accounts within the court's the electronic filing system. With SMG registration, it is possible to sign up for Notices of Electronic Filing ("NEFs") in particular cases. Visit the ECF website for more information and registration instructions. 

Once you have registered for NEFs in a particular case, you will receive notification via email that a document is available to be viewed electronically via PACER.

NEFs are emails noting:

  • Who filed the document
  • Who was served with electronic (e-mail) notice of the filing electronically
  • Date and time of filing
  • Document(s) title(s)
  • Docket text associated with the document(s)
  • On which party's behalf the document was submitted
  • A hyperlink to open a Adobe PDF copy of the document.

For some cases in which there is a very large amount of media interest, the court's Media Liaison maintains email lists and/or listserves and alerts subscribers to events in the case. To inquire whether such arrangements are available for a particular case, please call or email the court's Media Liaison.