COVID: ATL Federal Court pauses free PACER access, ReCAP extension allows free access to documents.

Announcement from Atlanta federal court: public PACER access is “temporarily unavailable.”

Truly free access to documents on PACER is yet another victim of the pandemic. On Monday, June 8, 2020, Atlanta’s federal court announced a “temporary” pause to PACER access. The announcement goes on to promote online access to PACER as an alternative to viewing documents at the court clerk’s office.

This change was made to try to reduce exposure to COVID, but it will come at a potentially high cost to pro se litigants who probably already do not have much in the way of money and attorneys without a lot of money to spend on research costs such as PACER fees.

While this restriction is ongoing, affected users are encouraged to download the ReCAP browser extension so that documents purchased with a PACER account can at least mitigate the damage to more people; ReCAP-archived documents are available at – the ReCAP extension will also identify documents that have been archived, and allow users to choose to view the document for free from CourtListener archives.

PACER’s billing minimum was changed to a (so far) higher number, I do not anticipate the change to become permanent. The unavailability of public research terminal computers means that litigants do not have the option to sit at a research terminal computer and sift through lots of down data making notes. PACER access is not cheap at ten cents per page. Honestly, the trade-off does not help the public at large, and PACER access should be restored.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

About Amy Barnes

Author has extensive experience in Retail, including two years as a supervisor. Educated in Psychology, Financial Accounting, Criminal Justice, and Programming. Work experience in Law Enforcement, Security (IT), Programming (REALBasic, SQL, VB, JAVA), Retail.
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