Frequently Asked Questions

Select a frequently asked question category on the left or search for a FAQ using the "Search this Site" box above.


  • I have logged into CM/ECF but I do not have any events to select for filing. What’s wrong?
    Look at the blue menu bar.
    If you see Civil, Criminal, Query, Reports, Utilities, Search and Logout, click on either the Civil or Criminal tab for a list of filing events.
    If you see Query, Reports, Utilities and Logout, you have used your PACER login and password, which only allows a user to view documents and reports. Click Logout and enter the filing login and password. The options on the menu bar should change.
  • Who can serve my summons and complaint?

    Anyone over the age of 18 years who is not a party to the lawsuit can serve the summons and complaint.  Professional process servers, typically listed in the telephone book, may be hired to serve the summons and complaint.  Fees and costs vary with each server.  A cost-savings alternative is to have a trusted family member or friend who is over 18 years old serve your summons and complaint.  If you do not use a professional process server, you should carefully read Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to determine the method by which service must be made. Rule 4 also permits service to be made under New York Law. If your application to waive the filing fee was granted and you have in forma pauperis status, you also have the option of having the United States Marshal Service serve your summons and complaint free of charge.  Please note that even if you have been granted in forma pauperis status, you need not use the Marshal Service for serving your summons and complaint.  If is frequently quicker to arrange for the service on your own.

  • My papers are due today, but I can't get to the courthouse until after 5:00pm, what can I do?

    If you cannot submit your papers during the Court’s normal business hours, you may place them in the District Court’s Night Deposit Box located near Security in the lobby of the Courthouse.  You must have the papers date and time stamped at the machine near Security.  So long as the papers are stamped on or before 11:59pm, they will be deemed submitted on that date.  If the papers are stamped at 12:00am (midnight) or later, they will be deemed submitted the next day.

  • Can I file my papers electronically?

    Pro se litigants may not file electronically without the judge’s prior approval.  If you would like to electronically file your papers, you must make a written application to the judge and include information regarding your ability to use a computer and what computer access you have.

  • What is a Report and Recommendation?

     A District Judge may refer the case to the Magistrate Judge to handle during different parts of the litigation.  For instance, a District Judge may refer the case to the Magistrate Judge to handle all pretrial issues relating to discovery.  In addition, the parties may consent to have the entire case handled by the magistrate judge. In such cases, the district judge will take no part in the case.

  • Why can't the Pro Se Office give legal advice?

    Legal advice should be given only by lawyers to their clients.  The staff of the Pro Se Office consists of court employees and are prohibited by law from giving legal advice. 

  • Why can't the lawyers in the Pro Se Office represent me?

    The Staff Attorneys in the Pro Se Office are court employees and as such are prohibited by law from representing litigants, giving legal advice to litigants or doing legal research on behalf of litigants.  The Staff Attorneys, like all employees of the Court, must remain neutral in order to preserve the integrity and independence of the Court. 

  • My corporation has been sued, can I file papers in Court on behalf of the corporation?

    No. Only individuals can appear pro se In other words, a person who is not an attorney may appear pro se but may not represent a corporation, even if the person is the sole owner of the corporation. The corporation must be represented by a lawyer.

  • What does it mean to appear pro se?

    "Pro se"- Latin for self or "in one’s own behalf." Although the majority of individuals, also known as "litigants" or "parties", appearing before this court, are represented by attorneys, a small percentage appears pro se. Litigants or parties representing themselves in court without the assistance of an attorney are known as pro se litigants. 


  • Do I include claims for transcripts on my CJA 20 voucher?

    No. All claims for transcripts must be submitted on a CJA 24 voucher.