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Electronic Court Filing (ECF) Notices Explained

October 14, 2022 ECFX

What is an Electronic Court Filing (ECF)?

A court filing is the process of submitting documents, either electronically or in physical form, to a court for a particular case/matter. There are many courts, including juvenile, state, federal, & appellate. Documents are submitted to courts in order to commence or supplement an ongoing legal action. The legal action is called a case. Cases can either be civil or criminal. When a case is created, it is assigned a unique name and number. The numbering system varies and is established by region and court.

Court filings can be submitted by individual parties representing themselves (pro-se) or by lawyers or law firms representing the parties.

By whatever means, the document(s) for a case are submitted to and handled by the court’s clerk who reviews the documents for acceptability.

An electronic court filing (ECF) is simply a filing done electronically, usually via the web portal of an electronic service provider (ESP).


What is an ECF Notice?

A “Notice” (within the ECFX software) is short for an electronic court filing (ECF) notice, and is an email notifying the party of a new or updated court filing, and containing details of the filing such as the case, docket number, links to the documents, other notified parties.


What do ECF Notices Look Like?

In general, an electronic court filing (ECF) notice takes the form of an email message, having a very specific structured format. This format is followed consistently within each court system, but varies according to the court and/or ESP.

The contents of the email typically include header information indicating that it is a court filing and the name of the court, as well as the case information such as case name and number. The individual documents associated with the filing may be included either as digital attachments of the email, or as links to the courts online document management system. This again depends on the court or ESP.

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