United States District Court - Northern District Court of California

Claudia Wilken, Chief Judge

Richard W. Wieking, Clerk of Court

Notice of Proposed Amendments to Local Rules

Notice of Proposed Amendments to Civil Local Rule 79-5, New Criminal Local Rule 56-1, and Abrogation of General Order 62.

In April 2010, the court implemented General Order 62 in order to permit electronic filing of documents filed under seal in civil cases. The general order was intended to be an interim measure pending the court’s consideration of an amendment to the civil local rules. With the benefit of three year’s experience with electronic filing of sealed documents, the court is now prepared to abrogate General Order 62 in favor of an amended Civil Local Rule 79-5 that incorporates the necessary procedures from the general order.

The amended Civil Local Rule 79-5 will eliminate the need for litigants to consult two sources for instructions, and will provide clarity for a somewhat complicated procedure. In addition to making the rules more user friendly, the proposed amendments will eliminate unnecessary involvement of the Clerk’s Office, ensure that an appropriate appellate record is maintained, and provide chambers with all of the papers needed to resolve the sealing motions. The most significant change is that litigants will be permitted to file under seal, without first obtaining a court order, the unredacted version of a document sought to be sealed.

Until further notice, electronic filing of sealed documents in criminal cases is not permitted. Proposed Criminal Rule 56-1 will set forth the instructions for manually filing documents under seal in criminal cases. In connection with the anticipated adoption of Criminal Local Rule 56-1, the sealed filing provision of the current Criminal Local Rule 55-1(b) will be eliminated.  

Before implementing the amendments and new rule, the Court will consider all comments of practitioners and the public. Comments may be submitted by emailing evidence@cand.uscourts.gov, within thirty days of the date of this Notice.

The proposed amended version of Civil Local Rule 79-5 can be found here, and the proposed new Criminal Local Rule 56-1 can be found here.

Dated: July 24, 2013