[Update: 9/15/11: One of my colleagues, who is preparing to teach a class on PACER, called the PACER Service Center to verify the date of the fee increase. She was told “April 2012.” I then called and was told “the spring billing cycle.” I suggested that information be posted on the web site, since the press release implies a much earlier date. -prj]
authorized an increase in the Judiciary’s electronic public access fee in response to increasing costs for maintaining and enhancing the electronic public access system. The increase in the electronic public access (EPA) fee, from $.08 to $.10 per, is needed to continue to support and improve the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, and to develop and implement the next generation of the Judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Filing system.
The Conference was mindful of the impact such an increase could have on other public entities and on public users accessing the system to obtain information on a particular case. For this reason, local, state, and federal government agencies will be exempted from the increase for three years. Moreover, PACER users who do not accrue charges of more than $15 in a quarterly billing cycle would not be charged a fee. (The current exemption is $10 per quarter.) The expanded exemption means that 75 to 80 percent of all users will still pay no fees.
The fee increase is effective November 1, 2011.
FGI readers might also be interested in the first part of the press release – the approval of standards and procedures for sealing civil case files.
For more, see The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times, “Judicial Conference Urges Restraint in Sealing Civil Cases.”
Thanks to my colleague, Mary Whisner, for the tip.