Free Pacer for CJA Attorney

Instructions for Exempt Usage

CJA PACER accounts are exempt from PACER fees when activated by the user. In the past, CJA users had separate PACER accounts for private and CJA work. This is no longer the procedure. You will use the same account for private work as CJA work. Use the following guidelines to ensure you can access the Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system for free when performing CJA duties:

First, determine whether the court uses a legacy or upgraded CM/ECF system by going to the Court Links page on the PACER.

When logging in to a court that uses the legacy system, enter an “X-” in front of your username to indicate your exempt.

  • If you log in with an “X-,” PSC will validate whether this is a court in which you are indeed If you are not exempt in that court, all transactions will be billable.
  • If you need to switch between exempt and non-exempt accounts, you should log out and log in again with or without the “X-.” When you log in without the “X-,” your account activity will be


  • When logging in to a court that uses the upgraded CM/ECF system, enter your credentials to log in, and then use the toggle switch to self-select your exempt status

  • Use the toggle switch to alternate between exempt and non-exempt.
  • If you do not self-select exempt status, you will be billed for your account.


  • NOTE: If you are logged in as a CJA attorney, make sure you are only doing CJA work. Exempt usage is closely monitored by the court, and you will be subject to charges if you are not doing exempt work.

  • “Legacy” refers to the first generation CM/ECF system that was upgraded as of July 12,
  • “Upgraded” refers to the modernized CM/ECF system that requires only one This system was released to courts in July 2014. Courts will install the upgraded version of CM/ECF at their own pace after that date.