FAQs - Case Information & eFiling

Q.  Is CM/ECF filing mandatory for counsel in the Fourth Circuit?

The Fourth Circuit adopted mandatory electronic filing by counsel for all cases effective June 1, 2008. Therefore, counsel must register for electronic filing and file and serve documents through the court’s CM/ECF system. It is optional for non-attorney filers, who must request leave of Court to file electronically in a particular case.

For more information regarding electronic filing see our Case Information & eFiling page and the CM/ECF FAQs on the PACER Web site.

Q. Do pro se litigants file electronically?

To qualify as a pro se ECF filer, a pro se litigant must complete the Fourth Circuit Electronic Case Filing Application, file a motion for leave to file documents electronically in a case pending in the Fourth Circuit, and be granted leave to proceed as an ECF Filer for the purpose of that case only. Pro se documents filed in paper form should be addressed to:

Patricia S. Connor, Clerk
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
1100 E. Main Street, Suite 501
Richmond, Virginia 23219-3517.

Q. How do I register for electronic filing?

Registration for appellate electronic filing is separate from and in addition to registration for PACER.  A CM/ECF password and login are required to file documents in CM/ECF. All CM/ECF registration is handled by the PACER Service Center. Go to: Register for eFiling. The PACER Service Center can be reached at 800-676-6856.  

Q.  How long does it take to register for CM/ECF filing with the Fourth Circuit?

This court must receive your appellate filer registration from the PACER Service Center and your Fourth Circuit Electronic Case Filing Application before your registration can be approved. Registration will usually be completed within a few hours of the court's receipt of all of your registration material. In exceptional situations, it may take a day. When your registration is complete, you will receive an email from the PACER Service Center confirming your registration. If you have an emergency and need to file immediately, contact the clerk's office at (804) 916-2767 for assistance and directions.

Q.  Can an attorney authorize someone in the attorney’s office (such as a paralegal) to use the attorney’s login name and password to file documents in CM/ECF?

Yes, but access should be limited and controlled since whatever is filed under that login and password is deemed to have the attorney’s signature on it.

Q.  Whom do I contact for help with electronic filing?

  • PACER:  If you are having difficulty registering for CM/ECF or have questions about your PACER or CM/ECF accounts, you should contact the PACER Service Center at (800) 676-6856. The PACER Service Center hours of operation are 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Central Time Monday - Friday.

  • CM/ECF:  The Fourth Circuit ECF Help Desk can be reached at (804) 916-2767 from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Also see this page: Case Information & eFiling.

    If you encounter technical difficulties after hours, documents may be emailed to the clerk's office at 4cca-filing@ca4.uscourts.gov. When sending documents to the court's email account, include the case number and title in the subject line of the message. In the body of the email, please explain the difficulty encountered.

Q.  I got a message that my account is locked. What do I do?

After attempting to log in to CM/ECF three times unsuccessfully, the system locks a user's account. Call the Fourth Circuit ECF Help Desk (804) 916-2767 or close your internet browser and wait five minutes: your account will automatically re-set.