Over the past decade the federal Judiciary's Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system has dramatically streamlined and simplified federal court case filing, management, and access. Now, a group of federal judges and court staff is thinking about the future of that system and asking: "If we could change CM/ECF in any way, what would we want the Next Generation system to look like?"
The transition to a Next Generation of CM/ECF is well underway. The requirements gathering phase of the project concluded in March 2012, as groups of judges, chambers staff, clerks, and court staff identified and prioritized hundreds of requirements. The project also received input from the bar, academia, government agencies, and others through interviews, focus groups, and surveys of approximately 10,000 judiciary stakeholders. The project is in the design and development phase. The initial schedule calls for the first Next Generation release to be available to the courts in 2014, followed by full transition over several years. The first release will include central sign-on functionality, which will allow users of CM/ECF and PACER to maintain one account across all courts and to sign in one time to access multiple courts.