Can you file bankruptcy on a federal holiday (when the federal court is closed)?

Yes, if you’re filing it electronically.

Today is Memorial Day.  I met with a client who needs to file today.  Unfortunately, it’s a holiday.

The court is closed today, and in fact, it is physically closed on every major federal holiday.  This means that if you drove up to the court to manually file the case, you would not be able to get in to meet with the court clerk, you could not file, you could not pay the filing fee, and you would not get a case number.

However, most bankruptcy attorneys use electronic access to the courts through a system called PACER, which is defined as:

Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts, and the PACER Case Locator via the Internet. PACER is provided by the federal Judiciary in keeping with its commitment to providing public access to court information via a centralized service.

This means that I can file a bankruptcy case on a holiday.  I can file it on a Sunday night at 11:00.  I can (and have) rolled off the couch in my office at 2:00 a.m. and filed a case electronically after my client called me to tell me that he had finally completed his online -pre bankruptcy credit counseling.

So, yes, you can file bankruptcy on a holiday, if you’re using an attorney who has PACER access.

To be a little more technical, I am actually using the ECF portion of PACER, which allows “Electronic Case Filing.”

The court defines it as:

The Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system is the Federal Judiciary’s comprehensive case management system for all bankruptcy, district and appellate courts. CM/ECF allows courts to accept filings and provide access to filed documents over the Internet.

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