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New PACER RECAP project!

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is a database of databases of judicial opinions, pleadings, motions and other papers from 94 district courts, 93 bankruptcy courts, and 13 circuit courts that compose the federal judiciary.

The RECAP project was initially a firefox/chrome extension which allowed users to automatically search for free copies during a search in the fee-based online PACER system and allowed users to build up a free alternative database at the Internet Archive.

The Free Law Project has announced that it has built a new archive of all the PACER documents captured by the RECAP project. The archive is available at https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/ and is fully searchable for the first time. It contains more than ten million PACER documents, including the extracted text from more than seven million pages of scanned documents

GPO also provides access to some PACER documents through FDsys and govinfo.gov. The availability of PACER records through GPO has a checkered history.

The Free Law Project also said that it will be launching a PACER/RECAP data service in the next few months that will help journalists and researchers acquire and understand PACER content. The Project will also be building a RECAP Clearinghouse that will provide some of the functionality of the firefox/chrome extensions, allowing researchers and organizations to use an API to get content from PACER.

The RECAP project is designed to help solve The PACER Problem by providing enhanced, free, meaningful public access to federal court records.

Read the complete announcement with many more details here:

  • Free Law Project Re-Launches RECAP Archive, a New Search Tool for PACER Dockets and Documents by Michael Lissner, Free Law Project (22 November 2016).

    “Creating an archive for all free PACER opinions and a clearinghouse for new content should quickly create a large and useful collection of PACER content. This will enable researchers, journalists, and organizations to focus their efforts where it matters — creating new research, identifying and telling important stories, and innovating the legal marketplace. We hope you will join us in this effort, and that if you find these services and tools valuable, that you will support our work with a donation.”

Hat tip to Gary Price at InfoDocket!

Also see: PACER and EDGAR.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


1 Comment

  1. Unfortunately, the Free Law Project has decided to charge other organizations money to access RECAP documents, and it now denies access to organizations which refuse to pay. The new version of the RECAP plug-in only uploads documents to the FLP’s own CourtListener site, while other sites, such as PlainSite and the United States Courts Archive, are no longer being updated. This decision was made in secret with no public discussion, and it was made despite the FLP’s stated position that court documents should be free and freely available to everyone. For more information, please see https://www.plainsite.org/articles/20171130/why-plainsite-no-longer-supports-the-recap-initiative/

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