WASHINGTON – Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) today introduced the Electronic Court Records Reform Act to eliminate the paywall on public court records. The legislation also modernizes the antiquated website which provides access to federal court filings and case records.
“Courts represent a cornerstone of our democracy. We expect them to deliver justice in public, open for any and all to inspect, and this goal can’t be achieved when case filings and other documents are shrouded behind a paywall,” said Collins.“Overcharging Americans to view public court records through the PACER System is unreasonable. I introduced the Electronic Court Records Reform Act to ensure that people can access these records easily and without cost.”
“As co-founder and co-chair of the Transparency Caucus, I have made it my mission to provide the public with increased access to the innerworkings of their government, which must also include the justice system,” said Quigley. “The American people deserve free access to federal court records, and courts deserve a modernized way of maintaining those documents. The Electronic Court Records Reform Act (ECRRA) achieves both of those goals and is a prime example of a common-sense initiative to increase transparency and accountability.”
Background on the Electronic Court Records Reform Act:
- Makes accessing court records in the PACER System free to the public rather than charging per page.
- Requires improvements to the PACER System to make documents more accessible.
- Promotes accessibility by enabling direct links to documents.
- Requires audio and visual court records be made available on the PACER System.
- Consolidates the Case Management/Electronic Filing System (CM/ECF) to ensure uniform access for all litigants.
- Updates CM/ECF with new technology in order to enhance security.