Closed cases filed before 2008 in the U.S 7th Circuit Court of Appeals have been removed from the PACER online database, as have older records from several other federal courts.
The change was made Aug. 11, according to an announcement posted Tuesday on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website. Copies of documents and dockets on 7th Circuit closed cases dated before Jan. 1, 2008, may be obtained by contacting the court directly, according to the statement.
The Legal Times blog reported the move had raised concerns from lawyers and journalists, as had a $30 fee established for providing entire files of dated cases by email.
The announcement on the PACER site said the change was made “in preparation for the implementation of the next generation of the judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system. NextGen CM/ECF replaces the older CM/ECF system and provides improvements for users, including a single sign-on for PACER and NextGen CM/ECF.”
The legacy case management system in the 7th Circuit and four others was incompatible with PACER, the announcement said, and no longer able to provide electronic access to the files.
Also affected by the change limiting online access to older cases are U.S. courts of appeal for the 2nd, 11th, and Federal circuits, as well as the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.