Yesterday the Federal Circuit issued a Notice of Upcoming Modifications to Clerk’s Office Procedures. In the notice, the court announced it will be resuming public access by telephone, discontinuing public assistance by email, and finalizing electronic filing access for pro se parties, among other things. Here is a summary of the announced changes.
Yesterday’s announcement referenced two other notices that provide details related to the changes.
First, in a Notice of Modification to Clerk’s Office Procedures, the court announced that the following three modifications would be implemented on October 1, 2020:
1. Public Assistance. . . . The Clerk’s Office will resume providing public assistance by telephone as of 8:30 a.m. (Eastern) on October 1, 2020. Public assistance will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Eastern) on weekdays, except for federal and court holidays or announced unavailability of public services. Clerk’s Office phone numbers are available on the court’s website.
2. Unrepresented Filer Procedures. . . . Unrepresented filers interested in either filing or being served documents electronically must comply with new electronic filing procedures for unrepresented parties as outlined in the Notice Regarding Implementation of Electronic Filing for Unrepresented Parties (Sept. 24, 2020).
3. Email Communications. As of October 1, 2020, the Clerk’s Office is discontinuing public assistance by email . . . [except] as outlined in the Notice Regarding Implementation of Electronic Filing for Unrepresented Parties (Sept. 24, 2020). . . .
Second, in a Notice Regarding Implementation of Electronic Filing for Unrepresented Parties, the court announced that on October 1, 2020 the Clerk’s Office will issue revisions to the Notice of Unrepresented Person Appearance (Form 8B), Electronic Filing Procedures, and Guide for Unrepresented Parties. Additionally, the court announced that the following procedures will be implemented to assist unrepresented filers in transitioning to the new procedures:
1. Registration Process. The Clerk’s Office will only approve electronic filing registration for individual unrepresented filers upon receipt of a compliant and completed Notice of Unrepresented Person Appearance (Form 8B), as amended October 1, 2020 . . . .
2. Filings by Email or Facsimile. Pursuant to Fed. Cir. R. 25(a)(1), filing by email or facsimile will be prohibited as of October 31, 2020, unless authorized in advance by either the court or the Clerk’s Office. . . . Beginning November 1, 2020, all non-case initiating documents must be submitted either in paper or through the court’s electronic filing system. . . .
3. New Petitions and Appeals. Unrepresented parties will not be able to submit new petitions for review, notices of appeal, or other case-initiating documents through the court’s electronic filing system. However, . . . unrepresented filers may submit new petitions for review, notices of appeal, or other case-initiating filings either in paper or as an attached PDF document emailed to email@example.com. Only case-initiating documents will be accepted by email, and only at this address . . . .
4. Fee Payments. Unrepresented parties who register for electronic filing will be able to pay the docketing fee via the court’s electronic filing system and Pay.gov only (1) once registration is confirmed, (2) the applicable case has been docketed, and (3) the court has received a completed and compliant Notice of Unrepresented Person Appearance (Form 8B). . . .
5. Consent to Electronic Service. The Clerk’s Office will continue to permit unrepresented filers to consent to electronic service of documents by email, even if they do not intend to register as electronic filers. These filers must still submit a completed Notice of Unrepresented Person Appearance (Form 8B) to the Clerk’s Office before they can receive service electronically.
For all of the details, click on the links to access the court’s notices.