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At the request of the Advisory Committee on Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the Center collected and reviewed local bankruptcy rules regarding signatures of non-registrants of CM/ECF (e.g., debtors) and requirements for retention of documents bearing original handwritten signatures of non-registrants. Staff also reviewed district court rules regarding signatures and retention, reviewed an OMB document on the use of electronic signatures in federal transactions, and solicited the views of interested parties regarding potential rules changes in these areas.

Archival Copy on File

In August 2005, the Federal Judicial Center, at the request of and with assistance from the Subcommittee on Automation of the Judicial Conference Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System, held a program at which bankruptcy judges discussed the use of distance participation technology to conduct bankruptcy proceedings. At the request of the Committee, the Center prepared this report to summarize the discussions at that program.

A subsequent guide was published: Remote Participation in Bankruptcy Court Proceedings (2017).

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This report describes the ways in which videoconferencing is used in the courts of appeals. Appellate judges with varying degrees of experience with videoconferencing identify advantages and disadvantages of using videoconferencing for oral arguments and other court business, describe the extent to which videoconferencing altered the dynamic between judge and attorney during oral arguments, and report any problems they had encountered in using the technology.

Prepared for the Court Administration and Case Management Committee of the Judicial Conference, this study shows there may be more advantages to remote public access to electronic criminal case documents than disadvantages or potential harm and that the majority of federal judges in the study favor access.

In Print: Available for Distribution

This manual provides trial judges a handbook on managing civil cases. It sets out a wide array of case-management techniques, beginning with case filing and concluding with steps for streamlining trials and discusses a number of special topics, including pro se and high visibility cases, the role of staff, and automation that supports case management. The manual, which was produced in response to the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990, is based on the experiences of federal district and magistrate judges and reflects techniques they have developed. It was prepared under the direction of the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, with substantial contributions from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and the Federal Judicial Center, and was approved by the Judicial Conference in March 2001.

Other editions:

Civil Litigation Management Manual, Second Edition (2010)

Manual for Litigation Management and Cost and Delay Reduction [Superseded] (1992)

In Print: Available for Distribution
Note: Distribution of this publication (hard copy) is restricted per National Institute for Trial Advocacy; permission has been granted for judiciary distribution only. Copies are available to the general public from National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

This publication is the result of a joint project between the Federal Judicial Center and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. It describes the substantive and procedural considerations that may arise when lawyers bring electronic equipment to the courtroom or use court-provided equipment for displaying or playing evidentiary exhibits or illustrative aids during trial. It draws upon the expertise of judges who work in courtrooms equipped with technology, law professors who teach trial advocacy and evidence, and practitioners who have trial experience using technology in civil and criminal cases. It collects practical experience and expert judgments, but does not purport to test these observations empirically or analyze case law. Although various forms of courtroom technology have been around since the 1970s, and model courtrooms equipped with technology began appearing in law schools in 1990, little scientific research has been done in the field and relatively little case law exists.

This guide is part of a larger Federal Judicial Center project examining the impact of technology on the adversary process. The central objective of the guide is to make it easier for judges and parties to benefit from courtroom technology without unduly complicating the pretrial and trial processes and without tilting the playing field. It comes with a CD-ROM that contains the entire text of the book for easy searching, reference, or excerpting, and includes examples of the kinds of exhibits that may raise objections as to transitions, animations, color, sound, and special effects.

Available Online Only

Describes the challenges to the federal judiciary posed by cyber crime, answers the question "What is cyber crime?," describes basic computer components, and contains a cyber crime sentencing job aid and cyber crime FAQs. Also included are suggested investigation questions, a matrix of conventional and cyber-specific supervision conditions, resources for technical assistance and training, and a glossary of cyber terminology.

In Print: Available for Distribution

Should digital audio recording technology be an approved method for taking the offical record of federal courts proceedings? This report, prepared at the request of the Court Administration and Case Management Committee of the Judicial Conference, summarizes findings from a study of digital audio recording technology as it was used to take the record of court proceedings in six district and six bankruptcy courts. The study was designed to do four things: (1) provide an assessment of the technology by those who use it in court; (2) provide an assessment of the technology by transcriptionists; (3) compare costs, functionality, and benefits of digital and analog recording systems; and (4) collect information to assist the Administrative Office in preparing technical specifications to guide future purchases of equipment.

In Print: Available for Distribution

Articles in this issue of FJC Directions describe federal courts' experiences with pro se actions. Included are an analysis of data from a Center study of nearly 60,000 pro se cases filed in ten district courts, a report on the District of Nevada's use of early case-evaluation telephonic hearings for prisoner pro se civil rights complaints, and discussions of developments in videoconferencing and other types of telecommunications for pretrial proceedings and trials. In this issue of FJC Directions:

  • New Statutes Add to Challenges Posed by Pro Se Cases in the Federal Courts, by Rya W. Zobel, page 1
  • Analysis of Pro Se Case Filings in Ten U.S. District Courts Yields New Information, by David Rauma and Charles P. Sutelan, page 5
  • Let's Try a Pro Se & Small-Stakes Civil Calendar in the Federal Courts, by William W Schwarzer, page 14
  • District of Nevada Uses Early Hearings to Cope with State Prisoner Pro Se Civil Rights Caseload, by Marie Cordisco (Leary), page 18
  • Congress & Judicial Conference Endorse Videoconferencing in Prisoner Civil Rights Pretrial Proceedings, by Genevra Kay Loveland, page 22
  • Judges Find Videoconferencing Cuts Down on Risks & Costs of Prisoner Litigation, page 25
  • Pre-PLRA Survey Reflects Courts' Experiences with Assessing Partial Filing Fees in In Forma Pauperis Cases, by Marie Cordisco (Leary), page 25
  • Pro Se Issues & Answers: An On-Line Forum, page 33
  • Pro Se Debtors & Creditors in Bankruptcy Cases, page 37


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