The file review area is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and is located in the Clerk's Office lobby, Suite 420, at 333 West Broadway, San Diego.
The Clerk's Office allows customers to print their own copies from computer work station for a fee of $0.10 per page. Copies provided by Clerk's Office personnel are $.50 per page.
To receive a certified copy of a document, the Clerk's Office must make the copies and perform the certification. The fee to certify a document is $11.00 plus the cost of the copies.
Records can be accessed in several ways:
- View the docket and images of filed documents on the Internet or in the Clerk's Office Lobby via CM/ECF PACER
- Request the file from File Review in the Clerk's Office Lobby
- Request an archived file from the Federal Records Center
- General Information
- Electronic Access to Files & Dockets
- Searching for Cases When Case Number is Unknown
- Noteworthy Filings
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Archived files are not available at the Clerk's Office, but can be retrieved from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
NARA can be accessed on-line for more detailed information. Dockets can be reviewed on the Internet via CM/ECF PACER.
Location of Case Files
All cases have distinctive numbers in the following format:
The first 2 numbers indicate the year the case was filed;
- Followed by 2 letters that indicate the case type (cv = civil, cr = criminal, mj = magistrate, mc = misc);
- Followed by an individualized four or five digit case number.
Civil and criminal case numbers also indicate the judge assignment by following the case number with a hyphen and the initial(s) of the district judge assigned. Magistrate and miscellaneous case numbers do not indicate judge assignment.
- Civil case numbers also indicate the magistrate assignment by following the district judge initial(s) with the initial(s) of the magistrate judge in parenthesis.
The first civil action number in 1997 was 97cv0001-H(CM).
The first criminal action number in 1997 was 97cr0001-GT.
The first magistrate case number in 1997 was 97mj0001.
The first miscellaneous case number in 1997 was 97mc0001.
Archived files are not available at the Clerk's Office, but copies can be retrieved from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). NARA can be accessed online for more detailed information HERE
Electronic review of docket sheets, images of filed documents, and party indexes is available on the Internet via Web Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). For CM/ECF PACER information and registration, contact the PACER Service Center in San Antonio, Texas on-line or by phone at 800/676-6856.
CM/ECF PACER Billing
The fee for Internet access to case dockets and party indexes via CM/ECF PACER
is $.10 per page.
The PACER Service Center accepts VISA, Mastercard, and Discover credit cards. To pay your statement by credit card, contact the PACER Service Center at 800/676-6856.
The PACER Service Center's Federal Tax Identification Number is 74-2747938.
All records in the Clerk's Office are filed and retrieved by case number. If the case number is unknown, CM/ECF PACER can be searched to identify the case number for a given plaintiff or defendant. Docket sheets of criminal cases filed in or after July 1991 and civil cases filed in or after May 1989 can be reviewed via CM/ECF PACER.
Microfiche and Card Files
Complete indexes of all participants in federal cases from 1962 to 1995 are available. The following table describes the type of participant index that should be searched depending on case filing year.
The Clerk’s Office can perform party name searches at a charge of $15 per name.
Case Filing Year
- 1953 - 1966
- 1966 - 1974
- 1974 - 1995
Participant Index Type
- Card Files
* Some of the cases listed on Microfiche will also be available in CM/ECF PACER. See above.
File Request Form
Customers must prepare a File Request Form prior to reviewing hard files in the Clerk's Office. We encourage the use of CM/ECF PACER to review files electronically, when possible.
Copy Request Form
Copies prepared by the Clerk's Office are $.50 per page for non-federal employees. The attached Copy Request Form can be used to request such copies. Customers can print their own copies of documents at a computer work station for $.10 per page.
National Archives and Records Administration File Research and Review
National Archives at Riverside holds Federal Records from Southern California, Arizona and Clark County, Nevada.
National Archives at Riverside
23123 Cajalco Road
Perris, CA 92570-7298
Fax: (951) 956-2049
Hours: Open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
Directions from San Diego:
Take CA-163 North toward Escondido
Merge into I-15 North
Take I-215 North toward Riverside/San Bernardino
Take the Cajalco Expressway exit westbound
Left on Harvill Ave.
Right on Cajalco Road to end of street