Chief Judge Roger L. Efremsky • Clerk of Court Edward Emmons

All FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

The FAQ information presented here is accurate as of the date of publication, but it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority.  It is highly recommended that individuals consulting these FAQs obtain legal advice from a qualified attorney.  For filing requirements, please refer to the United States Bankruptcy Code (Title 11, United States Code), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and the Local Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California.

General Bankruptcy

Answer:

Chapter 7: Often called the liquidation chapter, chapter 7 is used by individuals, partnerships, or corporations who are unable to repair their financial situation. In chapter 7 asset cases, the debtor's estate is liquidated under the rules of the bankruptcy code. Liquidation is the process through which the debtor's non-exempt property is sold for cash by a trustee and the proceeds are distributed to creditors.

Chapter 11: Often called the reorganization chapter, chapter 11 allows corporations, partnerships, and some individuals to reorganize, without having to liquidate all assets. In filing a chapter 11, the debtor presents a plan to creditors which, if accepted by the creditors and approved by the court, will allow the debtor to reorganize personal, financial or business affairs and again become a financially productive individual or business.

Chapter 12: Chapter 12 is designed for "family farmers" or "family fishermen" with "regular annual income." It enables financially distressed family farmers and fishermen to propose and carry out a plan to repay all or part of their debts.  Under chapter 12, debtors propose a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years. Generally, the plan must provide for payments over three years unless the court approves a longer period "for cause."

Chapter 13: An individual with a regular income who is overcome by debts, but believes such debt can be repaid within a reasonable period of time, may file under chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code. Chapter 13 permits the debtor to file a plan in which the debtor agrees to pay a certain percentage of future income to the bankruptcy court trustee for payment to creditors. If the court approves the plan, the debtor will be under the court's protection while repaying such debts.

More information regarding the difference between chapters can be found in the Bankruptcy Basics Manual.

Answer:

The name of the trustee assigned to a chapter 7, 12, or 13 bankruptcy case is printed on the Notice of Bankruptcy, Meeting of Creditors and Deadlines.  Additionally, the trustee's name may be obtained by accessing the Multi-Court Voice Case Information System (McVCIS) or through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER).  The name of the trustee is also accessible via the public terminals in all divisional offices or you may call the divisional office where the case is pending or was closed.

Answer:

Procedures posted on the Court website are divided into three sections: district, division and national. Please refer to Rules and Procedures section for further information.

Answer:

The creditor's matrix is a list of the creditors in your case. It must be filed in the proper format so that it can be used by the court's automated noticing system.  Please see Amended General Order 13 for creditor matrix formatting instructions.

Answer:

Credit Counseling is conducted by a United States Trustee authorized credit counselor.  ALL individual debtors must complete credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy.  After completing credit counseling, the credit counselor will issue a certificate that must be filed with the bankruptcy court.  When spouses file a bankruptcy case together (referred to as a jointly filed case) each spouse must complete credit counseling.  Failure to timely file a properly issued credit counseling certificate will result in the dismissal of your bankruptcy case.  If applicable, the credit counselor may issue a proposed budget and repayment plan (if one is prepared, it is to be filed along with the certificate).

Personal Financial Management is a course a debtor takes from an agency authorized by the United States Trustee after filing a bankruptcy case.  Only chapter 7 and 13 individual debtors are required to take a personal financial management course.  After completion of the course a debtor must file Official Form B 23.  If a personal financial management course certificate is provided it must be submitted at the time of filing the B23 form.  In chapter 7 cases, the certificate regarding completion of a financial management course must be filed within 60 days of the first scheduled 11 U.S.C. §341 Meeting of Creditors.  In chapter 13 cases, the certificate of course completion is due prior to the completion of all plan payments so that a discharge may be obtained.  The failure to timely file the certificate of course completion in either a chapter 7 or 13 case could result in a case being closed without the issuance of a discharge.  If this occurs a fee must be paid to reopen the case.

Please visit the United States Trustee website for the most recent information on approved credit counseling agencies and personal financial management instructional course providers.

Answer:

The process for setting a hearing varies depending on each judge.  Please refer to the calendaring procedure of the judge assigned to your case for information regarding setting a hearing on the judge's calendar.  Also, please refer to the Local Rules for more information regarding hearings on matters before the Court.

Answer:

Copies and/or certified copies can be obtained through the court.  Please see the bankruptcy fees page for information regarding payment for certified copies.  For more information regarding copy charges, please contact our divisional offices, San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Rosa, San Jose.

Answer:

Bankruptcy cases are public records and are available for viewing in the Clerk's Office where the case was filed.  Additionally, the court's Electronic Case Filing (ECF) system provides access to court files via the Internet.  Basic information about a case is also available through the Multi-Court Voice Case Information System (McVCIS) or through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER).  Closed cases that pre-date 2005 may also be viewed at the National Archives Records Administration in San Bruno.  Please contact the Clerk's Office for more information.

Answer:

PACER has a national index search tool called the U.S. Party/Case Index.  With a valid PACER account, you may search the entire country for a specific debtor.  The results will give you the party name, case number and jurisdiction in which the case was filed.  The report will allow access to a case's docket.

Answer:

Unless sealed, all documents filed in a bankruptcy case are available for public viewing. Information contained in bankruptcy case documents is a matter of public record.  Documents may be accessed in the Clerk's Office during regular business hours, or 24 hours a day via internet access to PACER.  Debtors should note that filing a bankruptcy may adversely affect their credit rating.  Credit reporting agencies regularly collect and disclose bankruptcy data to the public.

Answer:

It is strongly recommended that you consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney, and carefully read all information provided on case notices.  If you wish to file a proof of claim in a case for money you assert is owed, please complete and file a proof of claim form with the Clerk's Office.  Please note, Clerk's Office staff cannot provide any legal advice concerning your proof of claim or in regards to any case pending before the Court or other matter.

Answer:

A claim is any right to payment held by a person or entity against a person or entity that filed bankruptcy.  A written statement filed in a bankruptcy case setting forth a creditor's claim is called a proof of claim.  A proof of claim should include a copy of any documentation giving rise to the claim as well as any evidence in support of the claim, such as evidence of secured status if the claim is secured.  Click here to obtain a blank proof of claim form

Attorneys and most others with an ECF login may file a proof of claim using ECF.  Anyone however, with a computer connected to the Internet may electronically file a proof of claim by using the Electronic Proof of Claim (ePOC) system.  ePOC is paperless and does not require a login, password or access to ECF.  Click here to File an Electronic Proof of Claim using ePOC.

Answer:

In a chapter 7 "asset" case, the deadline (commonly referred to as the “bar date”) to file a claim is stated in the Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Meeting of Creditors and Deadlines.  In a chapter 7 “no asset” case, if the trustee files a Notice of Possible Dividends a notice is sent stating the deadline by which a claim is due.

In chapter 9 and chapter 11 cases, creditors receive a specific notice of the deadline by which a claim is due.

In a chapter 13 case, the deadline for creditors who have claims against the debtor is detailed in the Notice of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Meeting of Creditors and Deadlines.

In a chapter 12 case, the deadline for creditors who have claims against the debtor is noted on the Notice of Meeting of Creditors.

Answer:

You should file a Notice of Change of Address with the Court.

Answer:

Generally, trustees distribute funds to creditors six to eight weeks after they send out the notice of the Final Report and Accounting, however, sometimes the distribution of funds may take more time.  If you have questions, please contact the chapter 7 trustee appointed in the case.

Answer:

Each specific plan has different provisions pertaining to the time and amounts of creditor payments.  Please consult the plan to find out the payment distribution schedule.  If you have questions, please consult with your attorney or contact the debtor's attorney and ask when your class of creditors will be paid.

Answer:

To practice in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California, attorneys must be admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.  Please contact the District Court for further information.

Answer:

The Office of the United States Trustee is an executive branch agency that is part of the Department of Justice. Its responsibilities include monitoring the administration of bankruptcy cases and detecting bankruptcy fraud. It is also responsible for appointing interim trustees to administer chapter 7 cases from a previously appointed panel of private individuals, lending support to and overseeing the debtor-in-possession in chapter 11 cases, and appointing and supervising standing trustees in chapter 13 cases.

The individuals appointed by the United States Trustee to serve as interim or standing trustees in individual bankruptcy cases changes over time. If you would like additional information regarding either the trustee program in general or individual trustees, you should contact the Office of the United States Trustee or the Region 17 Office of the United States Trustee.

Answer:

The meeting of creditors is a hearing all debtors must attend in any bankruptcy proceeding.  The meeting of creditors is held outside of the presence of the judge and, depending upon the case chapter, usually occurs between 21 and 50 days after the filing of the petition.  In chapter 7, 12, and 13 cases, the trustee assigned to the case conducts the meeting.  In a chapter 11 case, a representative of the United States Trustee conducts the meeting.

The meeting permits the trustee or the representative of the United States Trustee to review the debtor's petition and schedules with the debtor. The debtor is required to answer questions under penalty of perjury (swearing or affirming to tell the truth) about the debtor's conduct, property, liabilities, financial condition, and any other matter that may affect the administration of the case or the debtor's right to discharge. In addition, the trustee or United States Trustee representative will ask questions to ensure that the debtor understands the bankruptcy process.

The meeting is referred to as a meeting of creditors because creditors are notified that they may attend and ask the debtor questions pertaining to assets or any other matter pertinent to the administration of the case.  It is also referred to as a 341 meeting because it is mandated by Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code.  Creditors are not required to attend these meetings, and do not waive any rights if they do not attend. The meeting usually lasts only about ten to fifteen minutes and may be continued if the trustee or United States Trustee representative is not satisfied with the information presented.

If the debtor fails to appear and provide the information requested, the trustee or United States Trustee representative may request that the case be dismissed, or may seek other relief against the debtor for failure to cooperate.  If the case involves spouses filing jointly, both spouses must appear at the meeting of creditors.

Answer:

Complaints of criminal violations in the bankruptcy system are submitted to the United States Trustee.  Upon review, if the information furnished establishes a reasonable belief that a criminal violation has occurred the United States Trustee may refer the matter to the United States Attorney for possible investigation and prosecution.  When submitting a complaint to the United States Trustee a clearly written statement along with copies of any available documentation will expedite this process.

The following information should be submitted with your complaint:

1. Name and address of the person or business you are reporting.

2. The name of the bankruptcy case, case number, and the location of where the case was filed.

3. Any identifying information you may have regarding the individual or the business.

4. A brief description of the alleged fraud, including how you became aware of the fraud and when the fraud took place. Please include all supporting documentation.

5. Identify the type of asset that was concealed and its estimated dollar value, or the amount of any unreported income, undervalued asset, or other omitted asset or claim.

6. Your name, address, telephone number, and email address. You are not required to identify yourself, though it is often helpful to do so if questions arise.

Submit a complaint by e-mail to USTP.Bankruptcy.Fraud@usdoj.gov, or to one of the following addresses:

 

Office of the United States Trustee
235 Pine Street, Suite 700
San Francisco, CA 94104-3401
Tel: (415) 705-3333
Fax: (415) 705-3379

 

Office of the United States Trustee
1301 Clay Street, Room 690N
Oakland, CA 94612
Tel: (510) 637-3200
Fax: (510) 637-3220

Office of the United States Trustee
280 S. First Street, Room 268
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel: (408) 535-5525
Fax: (408) 535-5532

Executive Office for United States Trustees
Office of Criminal Enforcement
441 G Street, NW
Suite 6150
Washington, DC 20530

For more information regarding reporting suspected bankruptcy fraud, please see the United States Trustee website.

Filing without an Attorney

Answer:

An individual (or persons who are married spouses filing jointly in the same case) may file a bankruptcy case without the assistance of an attorney.  When this happens the individual(s) represent themselves as debtors in pro se, which can be extremely difficult to do.  Retaining a competent attorney is highly recommended.  For information about attorney referral programs contact a local bar association.

Pursuant to Local Rule 9010-1(a), a corporation, partnership, or any entity other than a natural person may not file a bankruptcy case in the Northern District of California except through an attorney admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Answer:

Forms are generally available at office supply stores and other businesses online and otherwise that sell legal forms.  Forms are also available from the national United States Courts website and the Northern District of California Bankruptcy Court website.  The Bankruptcy Court Clerk divisional offices in the Northern District of California do not stock forms.

Answer:

The Court has four divisional offices located in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and Santa Rosa.  The proper divisional office to file a bankruptcy petition is determined by the debtor's county of residence, as follows:

Santa Rosa - Counties of Del Norte, Mendocino, Humboldt, Napa, Sonoma, Marin and Lake. The division office is located at the United States Courthouse, 99 South "E" Street, Santa Rosa, California 95404.

San Francisco - Counties of San Francisco and San Mateo. The division office is located at 235 Pine Street, 19th Floor, San Francisco, California

Oakland - Counties of Alameda and Contra Costa. The division office is located at 1300 Clay Street, Room 300, Oakland, California 94612 (mailing address: P. O. Box 2070, Oakland, California 94604).

San Jose - Counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito. The division office is located at the United States Courthouse, 280 South First Street, Room 3035, San Jose, California 95113.

Answer:

The Court requires only an original document be provided for filing.  If however you wish to have a Court-stamped conformed copy of an original document returned to you, a copy of the original document must also be provided.  If you are filing by mail you must include an appropriately sized self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage affixed to hold and return the conformed copy to you.   

Note: For some documents the judge assigned to the case may require that a copy be provided (sometimes also referred to as a “chamber’s copy,” “judge’s copy” or a “courtesy copy”).  Please refer to the Division Procedures for the posted copy requirements of the assigned judge.

Answer:
  • Voluntary Petition
  • Statement of Social Security Number
  • Certificate of Credit Counseling
  • List of Creditors
Answer:

The Court is open to the public between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays.  To file an emergency petition on paper after regular business hours, a pre-approved appointment must be arranged. Please contact the appropriate divisional office to arrange for an emergency filing:

  • San Francisco: (415) 268-2300
  • San Jose: (408) 278-7500
  • Oakland: (510) 879-3600
  • Santa Rosa: (707) 525-8539
Answer:

No. The only acceptable forms for debtors to pay fees are money orders, cashiers' checks or, if paying in person at a divisional office, cash in the exact amount of the required payment.  Money orders and cashiers' checks should be made payable to “Clerk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court,” in the exact amount of the required payment.  The Clerk's Office does not make change.  Do not send cash through the mail.

Answer:

Federal law (28 U.S.C. §1930) requires the payment of a fee to file a bankruptcy petition and also, in limited circumstances, permits such fees to be waived or paid via installments.  

In a chapter 7 case voluntarily filed by an individual, if the debtor's income is less than 150% of the federal poverty level relative to the debtor’s family size, and the debtor is unable to pay the fee in installments, the Court may waive payment of the fee.  A fee waiver may be requested by filing a completed Application for Waiver of Chapter 7 Filing Fee.  If the Court denies the request, the debtor may be required to pay the fee in full or via installment payments.

An individual filing a voluntary case (or married spouses voluntarily filing a joint case) under any chapter who is unable to pay the full fee at the time of filing may request the fee be paid via installments by filing an Application to Pay Filing Fee in Installments.

Answer:

The Clerk’s Office will send a notice of your bankruptcy case filing to those creditors listed with a complete street address, city, state and zip code in your initial bankruptcy petition.  It is your responsibility to proceed as you think is necessary to notify any other person or entity.

Answer:

Documents filed with the Court, and complete case information, is immediately available for viewing by attorneys, parties and the general public through PACER.

Answer:

No. Full access to CM/ECF is available to attorneys and limited access is available to certain other professionals (creditors, trustee staff, etc.) who have successfully completed CM/ECF training.

Answer:

The bankruptcy court has no jurisdiction over credit reporting agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1681(c) provides that credit reporting agencies may not report a bankruptcy case on a person's credit report after ten years from the date the bankruptcy case is filed. Other bad credit information is removed after seven years.

For information on re-establishing credit and addressing credit problems, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20580.  The toll-free FTC help-line number is 1-877-382-4357, and the FTC website is located at www.consumer.ftc.gov.

Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project (BPBP)

Answer:

The following clinics are available to the public:

Oakland

The Oakland clinic is held on the second Thursday of the month from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The address to the Oakland clinic is:

United States Bankruptcy Court
1300 Clay Street, Second Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

(Appointments are required. Please contact 510.302.2222, press option #4)

Richmond

The Richmond clinic will be held on the second and fourth Monday of the month, excluding federal holidays, from 4:45 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. at:

Contra Costa County Bar Association
2300 Clayton Rd, Suite 520
Concord, CA

RSVP is required for these workshops. You can RSVP on-line at www.cccba.org/community/calendar, or by calling Liz Galliett at (925) 370-2540 or email lgalliett@cccba.org.

San Francisco

The San Francisco clinic is held on the second Saturday of the month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at:

Hastings College of the Law
198 MacAllister Street (at Hyde)
San Francisco, CA 94102

(Drop in, first come, first served basis only, no appointment necessary)

San Jose

The San Jose clinic is held on the second and fourth Monday of the month, excluding federal holidays, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
150 E. San Fernando Street
San José, CA 95112

(For priority service, please contact 408.998.5298 to schedule an appointment. Drop in appointments on a first come, first served basis are accepted)

Additional clinics will be held at other locations throughout Northern California. Please check with the Clerk's Office or the court's website at: http://www.canb.uscourts.gov/ for availability.

Answer:

Depending on the location, some clinics are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and some are by appointment only.

The Oakland & Contra Costa County/Richmond clinics require interested parties to make an appointment prior to attending the clinic. Please contact the Alameda County Bar Association Volunteer Legal Services Corporation (ACBA) at: 510.302.2222 (press option #4) or the Contra Costa County Bar Association (925.370.2548) to make an appointment.

Although appointments are not required, the San Jose clinic recommends individuals to contact 408.998.5298, to make an appointment in order to receive priority service.

Answer:

Volunteer bankruptcy attorneys and, sometimes, law students provide advice at the clinics.

Answer:

Clinics sponsored by the BPBP are offered to individuals who already have a case filed with the bankruptcy court and who cannot afford the services of an attorney.

Answer:

No, legal advice provided at the BPBP clinics is offered free of charge.

Answer:

No. At this time, the clinic is only offering services for individuals who have a preexisting case in the bankruptcy court.

Answer:

No. The clinic staff can only provide legal advice – they cannot represent you in court.

Answer:

The clinic is only for people who have already filed a bankruptcy case. However, if you are contemplating filing a bankruptcy case, and cannot afford the service of an attorney, please contact the following numbers to see what other services may be available:

Oakland:

There are two resources available to people who are thinking about filing for bankruptcy. They are:

CBA Lawyers in the Library
Oakland Main Library
125 14th Street
Oakland, CA
510.238.3134

Services are available on the first Wednesday of each month, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. This session focuses on bankruptcy issues only. Clients may call the library to confirm date and time.

ACBA/VLSC Bankruptcy Clinic
510.302.2222, option 4

Clients must call VLSC intake to make an appointment. This clinic is for clients who have not filed for bankruptcy and is educational/informational only. Volunteer attorneys do not assist with filing for bankruptcy. These clinics are held on the third Thursday of the month at 11:00 a.m.

San Francisco:

(415) 989-1616 (Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

San Jose:

There are two clinics, which are not sponsored by BPBP, available which provide pre-bankruptcy advice and limited help to debtors. Information for these clinics is as follows:

Debtors' Rights Clinics
First and third Tuesday of the month
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Pro Bono Project
480 North First Street
San Jose, CA

(To schedule an appointment, please call 408.998.5298)

Debtors' Advice Clinics
Nine Mondays in the fall and spring semesters of Santa Clara University, Law School
The Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center
1030 The Alameda
San Jose, CA 95126

(For more information, please contact 408.288.7030)

Answer:

Yes. Participants should bring the following materials to the clinics:

• Complaint in Adversary Proceeding;

• Summons in Adversary Proceeding;

• Adversary Proceeding Cover Sheet;

• Order for Telephonic Case Management Conference;

• any other documents filed with the Court in connection with the bankruptcy case;

• contracts, correspondence or invoices from the other party; and

• any documents not filed with the Court that the debtor thinks might be relevant to the adversary case.

Answer:
Information regarding future clinic dates, locations and other documents may be accessed via the court's website: http://www.canb.uscourts.gov/.
 
This information is also available at any of the below Clerk's Office locations:
 
Oakland Division
1300 Clay Street, Suite 300
Telephone: 510.879.3554
 
San Francisco Division
235 Pine Street, 20th Floor
Telephone: 415.268.2368
 
San Jose Division
280 South First Street, Room 3035
Telephone: 408.535.5471
 
Santa Rosa Division
99 South E Street
Telephone: 707.547.5900
 

 

Answer:

No. As stated above, the clinic's volunteer attorneys can only offer limited legal advice – they cannot represent you at a 341 meeting.

Answer:

If the services offered at the clinics are not adequate, the clinic staff may provide contact information for local referral agencies that may be able to help you find an attorney for additional services.

Answer:

Yes. Also, if you need additional information as your lawsuit moves forward, you can go back to the same clinic, subject to availability.

Answer:

Although you can elect to attend any of the clinic locations offered through BPBP, it is recommended that you attend the clinic where your case is located – since each court location has its own separate procedural rules.

Answer:

Please note, the legal clinics are not guaranteed to solve all of your legal issues related to your case. The clinic provides support, but you are still responsible for making all necessary appearances and going forward with your lawsuit. The clinic is not a substitute for hiring competent legal counsel, and it is recommended that you retain counsel, if you can afford to do, in order to ensure that someone is representing your best interests.

CM/ECF and PACER

Answer:

Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF or ECF) is a comprehensive system that allows the Court to manage and maintain electronic case files and offer electronic filing over the Internet.  Unless sealed, a document filed in a case is immediately available electronically through the Internet.

Answer:

Full access to CM/ECF is available to attorneys, and limited access is available to certain other professionals (such as approved personal financial management course providers, creditors, trustee staff, etc.).

For information on obtaining a login and registering for ECF, please see the CM/ECF webpage.

Answer:

An ECF registered participant with an active login and password who is a party to a case, or an attorney of record for a party to a case, may receive email notices from the Court for that case.  Email notices from the Court include filing error notices and also a Notice of Electronic Filing, commonly called an “NEF” for short.

Answer:

When a document is filed in ECF a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) is automatically generated and emailed to the ECF registered parties in the case.  The NEF includes the text of the docket entry, the unique electronic document stamp, a list of the case participants receiving email notification of the filing, and a hyperlink to the filed document(s) (not a copy of the filed document).  Most recipients will receive one free look at the document when they click on the hyperlink to the document.

Parties to a case who are not ECF registered participants will not receive an NEF.

Answer:

An NEF email containing a hyperlink to a filed document can be viewed the first time for free.  This one free view link expires after the first use or 15 calendar days, whichever occurs earlier.  To retain a free copy of the document for your records, print or save the document during this initial viewing period.

If you click the link after it has expired, you will need to enter your PACER login information, and you will be charged to view and print or copy the document.

Also, the NEF may include a case number link.  If you click on the case number link, it will display the Docket Report for the case. You must log into PACER to view the Docket Report, and you will be charged for access.

Answer:

If you forward the NEF within 15 calendar days of receipt without having viewed the document, the recipient of your forwarded email will be able to view the document for free until the free view expires.  The free view expires after a first viewing or expiration of the 15 days, whichever occurs earlier.  After the free view expires a charge will be incurred to view and print or copy the document.

Answer:

The NEF email may have gone to your junk email folder.  Also, if a recipient inadvertently identified a previous Court email as spam, the ISP may be blocking email from the Court.  Sometimes, depending upon the policy of your ISP, you may not receive an NEF if your email inbox is full.  Contact your ISP to rectify this situation.  Note: Some ISPs may automatically route Court email to a junk mail folder.  Go into your junk mail folder and mark email from the Court as "not junk mail."

Answer:

Yes.  As a registered ECF filer you may authorize a duplicate NEF be sent via e-mail to one (1) member of your support staff.  Please contact the Helpdesk at helpdesk@canb.uscourts.gov to add or change your support staff email address.

Answer:

Separate from receiving an NEF email, other notices in a case may be sent by the BNC, sometimes by regular mail.  To receive BNC notices via email a creditor must sign up at the BNC public web site at www.ebnuscourts.com.  Submit your completed registration form to the BNC.  A similar service from BNC is available for debtors.  See the FAQs below for Debtor Electronic Bankruptcy Noticing (DeBN).

Answer:

In ECF select Utilities, then under the Miscellaneous category heading select Mailings and then Mailing Info for a Case.  Enter the case number and submit.  An Electronic Mail Notice List should appear, along with access to a list of case participants to receive non-electronic (manual) notice.  The electronic participants are also listed on an NEF that is emailed in a case after a document is filed.  The contents of an NEF may also be viewed by clicking on the "silver bullet" hyperlink next to each electronically filed numbered entry on a case docket.

Answer:

All documents uploaded to ECF for filing must first be saved in a portable document format (PDF), with the file name extension ending ".pdf ".  The most common reason for receiving a "format not recognized" error message is the document to be uploaded is actually not saved as a PDF, or the full “.pdf ” file name extension is not provided.  

To avoid this issue, use the browse button on the file selection screen to navigate to the file you want to upload.  Before completing the selection and uploading the document, right click and open it as a PDF to make sure it appears in its entirety and in the proper format.

Answer:

Yes.  Always use the 8.5" x 11" paper size when scanning or converting documents to PDF files.  After creating each PDF file, verify that an 8.5" x 11" document was created.

Answer:

Prepare a new document that withdraws the original document.  File the withdrawing document in the “wrong” case or adversary proceeding using the event Withdrawal of Document and by linking the withdrawing document to the original document.  The Withdrawal of Document event is located in the Miscellaneous category under the Bankruptcy and Adversary menus.  Then file your document in the correct case or adversary proceeding.

Answer:

Try using the ECF “Search” feature.  For example, when filing an Application to Pay a Filing Fee in Installments, use the search term “installments” to locate the event “Pay Filing Fee in Installments.”  If you are unable locate an event for the document you are filing, contact the division where the case is filed for assistance.

Answer:

Check to see if you have a pop-up blocker enabled. If so, it needs to be disabled. Then go to the Utilities menu and under the category heading “Your CM/ECF Account” click Internet Payments Due.  You will be taken to the pay.gov payment screen.

Answer:

In the Utilities menu, under the category heading “Your CM/ECF Account”, click Internet Payments Due.  You will be taken to the pay.gov payment screen.

Answer:

In the Utilities menu, under the category heading “Your CM/ECF Account” click Internet Payment History.  Insert a date range and submit.

Answer:

You cannot change the address listed for a creditor in a case, but if you are using ECF or ePOC to file the claim you can add a new address by selecting Add Creditor and entering the creditor's name and the correct address.  Additionally, if you are filing the claim on paper or via ECF or ePOC, you may also docket a Notice of Change of Address for the creditor, wait 24 hours, and then file the claim under the new corrected address.

Answer:

Prepare a new document that withdraws the proof of claim.   File the withdrawing document in the “wrong” bankruptcy case using the event Withdrawal of Claim.  The Withdrawal of Claim event is located in the Claim Actions category in the Bankruptcy menu.  Then file your proof of claim in the correct case.

Answer:

Your login and password may not be active due to unpaid fees associated with your account.  To check if you have unpaid fees in ECF go to Utilities then click on Internet Payments Due.  All outstanding fees must be paid before your account can become active again.

Also, a password not used to access ECF within 90 days of issuance, or for a continuous period of at least one (1) year, is automatically deactivated.  Please contact the CM/ECF Helpdesk at helpdesk@canb.uscourts.gov for assistance reactiviting your account.  When contacting the helpdesk please have the following information for your account:

  • Name, Bar ID (if applicable)
  • Firm Name (if applicable)
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Email and secondary email (if applicable)
Answer:

When an attorney leaves a law firm the firm is required to notify the Court of the name and contact information for the attorney(s) taking over the departing attorney’s active cases and adversary proceedings that are pending with the Court.  This is done by filing a Notice of Substitution of Attorney in each active case and adversary proceeding and using the CM/ECF event Substitution of Attorney located under the Miscellaneous category in the Bankruptcy and Adversary menus.

If the attorney leaving the firm is retaining cases or adversary proceedings, the departing attorney must file a Notice of Change of Address in each case or adversary proceeding.  For additional information please consult Civil Local Rule 3-11.

If a list of active cases or adversary proceedings is required, please contact the IT Help Desk via email at helpdesk@canb.uscourts.gov.

Answer:

You do not need to register for CM/ECF more than once.  Even if you change firms, your login remains valid.    It may however, be necessary to establish a new PACER login and password.  Contact the Pacer Service Center for assistance.

Answer:

Click the forgotten password link on the ECF login screen, or click here.

Answer:

No, because each court separately assigns the ECF login for filing privileges in that court, presently it is not possible to obtain a universal login to file via ECF in all courts.

Answer:

Information abour PACER is available from the PACER website.

Answer:

The firm PACER account may be used, but if you want to keep your PACER fee billings separate from the firm's you will need to establish a separate PACER account.  Information on obtaining a PACER account is available at the PACER website Registration Page.

Answer:

Once you are logged in as a CM/ECF filer, click on the Utilities menu.  Under the Your Pacer Account category, click Change Your PACER Login. Enter a new PACER login and password.  You can change the default PACER login by checking the box Make this my default PACER login. Once you associate a PACER login and a filer login, there is no way to un-associate the two without making another PACER login the default.

Training

Answer:

Full access to CM/ECF is available to attorneys, and limited access is available to certain other professionals (such as approved personal financial management course providers, creditors, trustee staff, etc.). 

To obtain a login to access CM/ECF:

  • All applicants (attorneys and limited access) must either, 1) successfully complete an online webinar training course and practice assignment, or 2) request and qualify for a waiver of the webinar training course.
  • Additionally, all attorney applicants must be admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in accordance with Civil Local Rule 11-1(a), 11-2 or 11-3, and return a signed Certification of Completion of Electronic Training Course to the Court.
Answer:

Training is required for all attorneys and limited access filers unless they request and qualify for a waiver of the webinar training course.  To qualify for a training waiver an applicant must, among other requirements, have previously received ECF training from another bankruptcy court and demonstrate having successfully filed documents via ECF in that bankruptcy court.

Answer:

To play the pre-recorded webinar you must have a computer with JAVA installed that is also connected to audio speakers and the internet.  To begin your training you will receive an email from the Court with links to download documents and install a WebEx module to view the webinar.  Using two browser windows or two monitors while completing training is recommended.  The webinar has been tested and works well with Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Safari browsers.

Answer:

You will receive an email from the Court with further instructions on how to participate in the webinar.  After successful completion of the webinar and practice assignment and (for attorney applicants only) providing a signed Certification of Completion of Electronic Training Course to the Court, an email will be sent to you containing information on how to access the live CM/ECF system.

Answer:

The creditor's attorney course focuses primarily on filing motions, adversary proceedings and claims.  The debtor's attorney course includes the instruction and materials provided by the creditor's attorney course, plus additional instruction and materials on filings particular to debtors, such as filing a petition in a case.

Answer:

The debtor's attorney webinar is 76 minutes in length and the creditor's attorney webinar is 59 minutes in length.  Each webinar is divided into segments of between 4 and 12 minutes. The segments are not required to be viewed during one session.  In addition to the webinar, the training also consists of a practice assignment to demonstrate the filing techniques taught during the webinars.  The practice assignment is self-paced.

Answer:

No, the pre-recorded webinar and practice assignment are self-paced. You may view one segment at a time or all at once.  Each segment may be played, paused, stopped and resumed at any time.

Answer:

Attorneys are urged to encourage their non-attorney staff members to view the webinar and complete the practice assignment so as to familiarize working with ECF, but staff may not take or complete the webinar or practice assignment on behalf of an attorney applying for a login.  Staff are not required to submit a completed practice assignment to the Court for review.

Electronic Bankruptcy Noticing

Answer:

A debtor can enroll in DeBN at any time during the pendency of the debtor’s bankruptcy case.  A debtor may also request deactivation of the debtor’s DeBN account at any time.

Answer:

Emails are sent by the Bankruptcy Noticing Center (BNC) on behalf of the court in the evening on the same day a court notice or order is filed in your case.

Answer:

BNC sends orders and court-generated notices from all bankruptcy courts to debtors and other parties in bankruptcy cases.  BNC sends confirmation emails, court orders and notices using these addresses:

bncedi@noticingcenter.com

bncrtn@noticingcenter.com

Please add these email addresses to your contacts/safe-sender list to ensure delivery of court notices and orders to your email inbox.  Please do not reply or send emails to these email addresses.  These email accounts are used solely to send emails from BNC and the inboxes are not monitored.

Answer:

No, only notices and orders filed by the court and sent to BNC for service upon you will be delivered by email.  All other parties, such as the trustee and creditors, will continue to serve documents upon you by U.S. mail or pursuant to other applicable court rules.

Answer:

No, a debtor only has the option to receive court orders and notices either by email or U.S. mail.

Answer:

Your email address is not shown on the case docket caption, and your filed Debtor Electronic Noticing Request form is not visible to the public for viewing.  However, a BNC Certificate of Mailing filed in the case will reflect your email address if the notice or order was emailed to you.  A Certificate of Mailing must include a party’s name and the address where they were served.

Answer:

Neither the court nor BNC can resend court orders or notices.  If you accidentally deleted a court order or notice contact your attorney or the court for information on how to obtain another copy.

Answer:

No.  If only one of the joint debtors enrolls in DeBN then that joint debtor will receive court orders and notices by email, and the other joint debtor not enrolled in DeBN will continue to receive notices by U.S. mail.

Answer:

Yes, joint debtors can use the same email address.  Each joint debtor will have their own DeBN account, and separate emails will be sent to each joint debtor at the email address used to register for DeBN.

Answer:

Immediately file with the court a Debtor Electronic Noticing Request form providing your new email address.  After the clerk's office has processed this request, you will receive an email from BNC at your old and new email addresses advising that your DeBN account has been updated.

Answer:

Immediately file a notice of change of address with the court.  The clerk’s office will make the necessary changes to your bankruptcy case and your DeBN account.  You will then receive an email from BNC advising that your DeBN account has been updated.

Answer:

You must complete, sign and file an updated Debtor’s Electronic Noticing Request form, requesting deactivation or reactivation of your account.  After the clerk’s office processes this request, you will receive an email from BNC advising that your DeBN account has been deactivated or reactivated.

Answer:

There are several reasons why this may have occurred, including a DeBN account being deactivated due to an email delivery failure (a bounce-back email), a request filed to deactivate DeBN service, or when the name and street mailing address on file with the court no longer matches the name and street mailing address on the debtor’s DeBN account.  If a DeBN account becomes deactivated, the debtor immediately begins to receive court orders and notices by U.S. mail. 

Additionally, if a PDF attachment is unusually large in size (exceeds 8MB), it is sent to the debtor by regular U.S. mail, but the debtor’s DeBN account remains active.

Answer:

You may click this link to download a copy of the DeBN brochure, or contact the court at helpdesk@canb.uscourts.gov with questions about DeBN or the status of your DeBN account.  Do not contact BNC, or reply to emails you receive from BNC.  Those BNC email accounts are used for the sole purpose of sending emails, and the inboxes are not monitored.