,PACER court records requires a funding source, to offer them to the public for free will only require an alternative funding option. Legislation proposes free access however this would increase litigation costs (Court fees) and may well present a bar to justice as a result of these costs. PACER is the federal court’s electronic records system. Without additional options the proposals would burden the courts with new costs. PACER court records and the associated public access and case management systems require around $100 million per annum to operate. This was put forward by the Judicial Conference which is the policy making department for the U.S. Court System. While the PACER court records was the more pressing subject the meeting also covered court room cameras and the abundance of sealed court records.  Thus in excess of 500 million case information requests have been processed in the last fiscal year.

PACER Court records has to be funded

Accordingly some critics argue that public access currently to the Federal courts remain difficult. The fee waiver will see over 75% of PACER court records users in any quarter paying no costs/fees.  PACER has around 2.5 million registered users with access available to over 1 billion case documents. Currently public access to PACER documents is 10 cents per page, with the cost for a single document capped at $3. There is legislation pending along with ongoing litigation (Fee waivers). Likely increase in costs to cover fee waivers would be around $750 per case. This could inflate current civil filing fees to $1,100 (from $350). The judiciary has advised it is doubling the quarterly fee waiver to $30. Those eligible are non profits, the media and individuals. The Administrative Office of U.S. Courts advised that 87% of revenue was attributable to only 2% of users (commercial enterprises and financial institutions).

Free federal court records search unlikely

A non profit organisation representing these commercial enterprises puts forward that the integrity of a background check relies on speed and accuracy along with a personal identifier such as the complete date of birth. Around 96% of employees conduct screening in order to determine the appropriate candidate. Moreover what appears to be an anomaly within background screening is the absence of a date of birth. PACER court records currently do not provide DOBs and local and State courts are increasingly redacting this information. Consequently this makes it difficult for CRA’s and background screening companies. To determine conclusively whether a criminal record related to an individual especially, for example, if the subject has a common name. As well intentioned (Privacy/data concerns) redacting may well be consequences can be severe. Should congress not direct the Judicial Conference to ensure a subject’s date of birth is inclusive to PACER court records.