FAQ: Are there alternatives to PACER for accessing federal dockets?

The answer is “sort of”.

This entry informs of two alternatives to PACER; one has been around a few years and the other is newer. Both alternatives use previously retrieved and downloaded information from PACER.

The alternatives use a “Pay it Forward” concept by downloading PACER case information which makes it available for others to view in the future.

Read on for the full scoop.

Why an alternative?

Some folks believe that PACER is too costly for access to public records.

See this 2009 web article “The Trouble with PACER Fees” by Timothy Lee at Freedom to Tinker a website of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology


Two alternatives to PACER:

The newest in the market of PACER alternatives is Inforuptcy. The search for bankruptcy filings and documents begins at the Inforuptcy website.

When a document has previously been searched, paid for, and downloaded it can be viewed for free. To download the document from Inforuptcy it costs 5 cents vs. 10 cents that PACER charges. If the search yields no documents at Inforuptcy the searcher is redirected to PACER and the associated fees are charged.

Once a PACER document has been downloaded through the Inforuptcy site it remains there for others to view.

This website as a whole is for those interested in bankruptcy and the business of bankruptcy, it has information tabs for Filings, News, Marketplace, and Community.

Web articles about Inforuptcy:

New Website Launches Bankruptcy-Focused PACER Alternative  by Stephanie Gleason at the ABA Blog Bankruptcy Beat on April 18, 2012

New Bankruptcy Website Stores Downloaded PACER Documents for Free Reading by Debra Cassens Weiss at ABA Journal Daily News on April 19, 2012


Another alternative is Recap.

Recap “Turning PACER around” is a service similar to Inforuptcy. Recap is like Inforuptcy in that it downloads a searcher’s new documents to make the documents available to others for free. Recap has been around since 2009 and is a project of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology.

Recap is a plugin/extension to Firefox that becomes active when searching PACER. It alerts the searcher that what is to be viewed or downloaded is in the Recap archive; or if not in the archive the plugin will download it from the current PACER session and make available to others in the future.

Recap includes all US District and Bankruptcy courts, has an advanced search, and is free to browse within the Recap database/archive.

Web articles about Recap:

Plug-in opens up federal courts, with your help by Declan McCullagh at CNET News on August 14, 2009

Tired of Paying for PACER Docs? Princeton Group Offers Alternative by Martha Neil at ABA Journal News Law Libraries on August 14, 2009

Recap Open-Sources PACER Court Documents by Mark Hachman at PC World AppScout on August 14, 2009


What is PACER?

FAQ: Where can I access federal court case and docket information? PACER


1 Comment

Filed under AZ Courts, FAQ's, Research Tips

One response to “FAQ: Are there alternatives to PACER for accessing federal dockets?

  1. Perhaps more importantly, Inforuptcy provides features and an interface to PACER for an overall greatly improved experience: For a quick comparison, check out this page:
    (From the CEO & Co-founder of Inforuptcy -blog editor added)

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