Frequently Asked Questions (Appellate Courts)

 

 

The following contains answers to some of the more common questions that have been fielded by the help desk for Appellate Court-related filings. For your convenience, these questions are grouped by topic.

 

Topics: Filing on an existing case | Documents | Proxying | Rejected Filings & Correcting Filing Issues | Dashboard Screens | UJS Portal Accounts | Miscellaneous

 

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Create a PACFiling

 

 

 

 

Question

 

 

Answer

 

 

 

 

How do I file an Entry of Appearance?

 

 

 

The link below opens a PDF document that contains a step-by-step guide for this process:

 

PDF How to File an Entry of Appearance

  

This document only shows how to complete the Filing Wizard. If additional assistance is needed on submitting the filing, refer to the Submission & Payment reference guides.

 

 

 

 

 

What do you do when there isn't a Filing Type that matches what I want to file?

 

 

 

In these instances, it is best to contact the court in which you are filing and ask for guidance. The help desk cannot offer direct assistance in these matters.

 

 

 

 

 

If I need to file multiple documents on the same case, and one of them is an Entry/Praecipe of Appearance, do I submit them separately or together?

 

 

 

Together. If you are an attorney who is not actively participating on a case, your ability to file on a case through PACFile is contingent upon filing your entry or praecipe of appearance. While filing the appearance, you have the option to file other documents on the case simultaneously.

 

When completing the Filing Wizard, the entry or praecipe of appearance must be selected through the Filing Type tab. Any additional documents being filed simultaneously, like an application for relief, can be added through the Select Optional Filing dropdown on the Filing Documents tab.

 

You can opt to submit a PACFiling with only your entry or praecipe of appearance, but you will need to wait for the court to accept this filing before you can submit any subsequent filings electronically on the same case.

 

 

 

 

 

How do I file an Amicus Brief?

 

 

 

The link below opens a PDF document that contains a step-by-step guide for this process:

 

PDF How to File an Amicus Brief

 

This document only shows how to complete the Filing Wizard. If additional assistance is needed on submitting the filing, refer to the Submission & Payment reference guides.

 

 

 

 

 

I am an active attorney on a case. Why can't I find an option for an Amicus Curiae Brief in the Filing Type tab?

 

 

 

Currently, the ability to file an Amicus Brief is based on the premise that the filing attorney has no active association to any of the case participants. Consequently, the option to select an Amicus Curiae Brief is not available through the Case Filing Wizard when the filing attorney is already representing one or more of the case participants. In this situation, you can contact the appropriate court to ask which of the available filing type options should be selected in the Filing Type tab or you can elect to file on paper.

 

 

 

 

 

How do I file briefs on consolidated cases?

 

 

 

Generally, when you are filing a document on consolidated cases, you can associate your document to a single PACFiling that references one or more cases in the consolidation. Briefs represent an exception to this rule. Depending on the court, briefs must be filed separately on each case in the consolidation. This process applies to all brief-related filings, including applications for extensions of time to file. The business processes for the Superior and Commonwealth Courts, however, may not require briefs to be filed on every case in a consolidation. Contact each individual court for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

I need to file an Entry/Praecipe of Appearance on a sealed case or a secure docket type (ex. DD3 case). Why can't I find the case?

 

 

 

This is a security measure intended to prevent unauthorized individuals from exploiting PACFile to gain access to secure information. Any attorney who is representing a participant on a sealed case or secure docket type, and needs to file an appearance, cannot complete this action electronically. These filings must be submitted to the court on paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viewing or Adding Documents

 

 

 

 

Question

   

Answer

 

 

 

 

What is the file size limit for submitting documents through PACFile?

 

 

 

Any single document submitted through PACFile can be no larger than 500 MB (megabytes).

 

Refer to the Document Requirements page for more information on the required format and characteristics of PACFiled documents.

 

     
 

How do I upload multiple documents to a single filing type?

 

 

 

In the Documents tab of the Filing Wizards, multiple documents may need to be uploaded to the same filing type when a single document has been split into several volumes. The (Upload Documents) link, which appears next to each filing type, provides the ability to upload these documents one at a time. After uploading a document, this link remains available for the filing type so any additional documents can be associated. There is no limit to the number of times the upload process can be repeated for a given filing type.

 

     
 

 

When uploading documents, what are the accepted file formats?

 

 

 

All documents must be saved in the PDF file format.

     
 

Are there any restrictions regarding the use of fonts?

 

 

 

When a document is originally created using a word processing program only fonts that are recognized by the PACFile system should be used. This standard applies even though all documents must be converted to and submitted as a PDF. The list of acceptable fonts can be found in the following document:  

 

PDF Accepted PACFile Fonts

 

If you don't use one of the accepted fonts, you must embed the chosen font in your PDF during the conversion process. Failure to embed an unaccepted font may affect the court's ability to read your document.

 

     
 

I am an attorney representing a participant on a case, but I don't have the ability to view the documents filed by the other participants. Why?

 

 

 

An attorney's ability to view case documents via PACFile is based on a combination of the docket type and their association to one or more of the case participants. Typically, PACFile users associated to a participant in either a moving (ex. Petitioner, Appellant, or Objector) or opposing (ex. Respondent or Appellee) role can see all the documents filed on a given case. The availability of documents for those associated to participants in third or non-party roles (ex. Amicus or Intervenor) can be much more limited. The rules regarding document availability is part of a security policy that is authorized by the courts.

 

Refer to the Document Availability page (Supreme Court | Commonwealth Court) for more precise information on the ability to view documents for the participant roles on each docket type. If you review these rules and determine that you are being wrongfully restricted from seeing documents on a case, contact the Help Desk for assistance.

 

     

 

 

 

Proxying

 

 

 

 

Question

   

Answer

 

 

 

 

What is a proxy?

   

 

A proxy is a someone who his authorized to act as a substitute for another. Within the court system, the authority to file is generally limited to the attorneys who represent the participants on a case. In the paper world, while legal documents are prepared and authorized by an attorney, law firms often utilize support staff to complete the physical act of filing the paperwork with the court (ex. preparing the document for mailing or presenting the documents in person). The court recognizes the use of this practice and offers a similar alternative for filers in the electronic world.

 

The PACFile system provides the ability for any person to file documents electronically on behalf of an authorizing attorney. In order to establish a proxy relationship, both the grantor and the grantee must have an account on the UJS Web Portal. Once rights have been granted, the proxy can perform any of the assigned actions authorized by the attorney. Attorneys can delegate proxy rights to multiple individuals and any individual has the ability to serve in the proxy role for multiple attorneys.

 

     
 

How do I request the right to proxy for an attorney?

   

 

The link below opens a PDF document that contains a step-by-step guide for this process:

 

PDF How to Request Proxy Rights

 

This process must be repeated separately for each attorney you would like to proxy for.

 

     
 

I am an attorney. How do I grant proxy rights?

   

 

When another PACFile user has submitted a proxy request to you, use the following PDF document as guide to complete this process:

 

PDF How to Assign Proxy Rights from a Request

 


 

If you want to grant proxy rights to another PACFile user unilaterally, without waiting for a proxy request, use the following PDF document as a guide to complete this process:

 

PDF How to Assign Proxy Rights without a Request

 

This process must be repeated separately for each individual you want to have as a proxy.

 

     
 

How do I create a payment proxy?

   

 

Payment proxies (a.k.a. Submit proxies) are individuals who are solely responsible for administering the submission and remittance portion of any PACFilings that are created by an attorney or group of attorneys. The process for setting up a payment proxy is virtually the same as that for any other proxy, with the only difference occurring when the authorizing attorney is granting the proxy's specific privileges.

 

For the prospective proxy, the steps for requesting proxy rights are no different than any other scenario. Use the following PDF document as guide to complete this process:

 

PDF How to Request Proxy Rights

 

For the authorizing attorney, when another PACFile user has submitted a proxy request, use the following PDF document as guide to complete this process:

 

PDF How to Assign Proxy Rights from a Request

 

In Step 2, it is only necessary to select the Submit Filings checkbox.

 

     

 

 

 

Rejected Filings & Correcting Filing Issues

 

 

 

 

Question

   

Answer

 

 

 

 

My filing was rejected. What do I do?

 

 

 

Filings can be rejected by the court when it contains some significant defect. If this occurs, you will receive a 'Rejected' notification under the User Action Required section of your Dashboard. Clicking the View link on these notifications displays the corresponding comments from the court that describes the reasons for the rejection and the expected resolution.

 

If, after reading these comments, you still do not know how to proceed, contact the court for more information.

 

     
 

How do I submit a corrected document?

 

 

 

It is not uncommon that the court accepts a filing on the condition that some minor defect with the submitted document(s) will be corrected promptly by filer. Conversely, there are situations where filers notice an error in a submitted document(s) and wish to submit a corrected version.

 

Both scenarios can be addressed through the submission of a Corrected PACFiling. In these circumstances, rather than having the submitter repeat the same PACFiling process, an abbreviated option is available for resubmitting the corrected document. When the corrected document is ready to be submitted, it can be initiated through the Case Filing Wizard with a filing type of 'Corrected PACFiling'. The Wizard is otherwise completed normally and should require minimal data entry. This distinct filing type helps the court identify the nature of the submission more quickly.

 

     
 

How do I merge documents into a single PDF?

 

 

 

There are some instances where the courts require the submission of two or more documents as a single file. For example, based on Pa.R.A.P 2111 (b), the Commonwealth Court requires that the opinion of the lower tribunal be submitted with the Appellant's brief as a single document.

 

Consequently, if you have separate documents that need to be merged into one, there are several options available to complete this action:

 

Option 1:  If your documents are saved in an electronic format and you have a licensed version of Adobe Acrobat on your computer, refer to the following PDF document for the steps on merging these documents:

 

PDF How to Merge Documents (Using Adobe Acrobat Version XI)

 

Option 2: Many copy machines have a function that can scan documents and create PDFs. A single merged PDF can be created by scanning the hardcopies of all the documents simultaneously.

 

Option 3: If you have a PDF version of each document, there are several websites that can be found via a Google search that offer the ability to merge PDF documents. Depending on the website, this service may be offered free of charge or for a fee.

 

     
 

I received a payment failure notification after submitting a filing. How should I proceed?

 

 

 

When you receive a ‘Filing Payment Failure’ notification through the User Action Required section of your Dashboard, clicking the corresponding View link provides the ability to resubmit payment without needing to redo the entire filing. Alternatively, if you received an e-mail notice about this failure, a link is provided in the e-mail that guides you to PACFile so payment can be resubmitted.

 

This problem is considered a non-PACFile issue since it does not pertain to the document being submitted. These issues are typically data-entry errors that occurred on the Payment & Submission page, the credit card is invalid, or there is a situation that must be addressed with the company that issued the credit card.

 

     

 

 

 

Dashboard Screens

 

 

 

 

Question

   

Answer

 

 

 

 

After I submit a filing, where can I find it on my dashboard?

 

 

 

A notification, with a type of 'Filing Submitted', will appear under the Notice of Court section on your dashboard. This notice appears shortly after you have completed the submission process.

 

     
 

After I submit a filing, how long will it take before I receive notice that it has been accepted?

 

 

 

There is no precise time period for this action. The courts actively monitor their systems for new PACFilings and addresses them in a prompt manner. If the court finds no substantial issues with a submission, the corresponding filing(s) are docketed. Once docketed, the corresponding 'Filing Submitted' notification that you received in the Notice of Court section of your Dashboard automatically updates to 'Filing Accepted'.

 

     
 

 

I am using the Manage Case Access Codes screen to enter the code I received from the court. Is this code case sensitive?

 

 

 

No. The letters in this code can be entered in upper or lower case.

 

     
 

After filing a new case in the Superior Court, I received two PACFile notifications related to filing a docketing statement. What is the difference between them?

 

 

 

When the Superior Court records a case on its Appeal docket, it immediately issues a docketing statement to the Appellant (or their counsel) that must be completed and returned by a specified due date. When the responsible participant is PACFile-registered, the court issues this notice through an eService and User Action Required notification. These separate notifications present different options on how to fulfill the docketing statement requirement.

 

Attached to the eService notification is a blank copy of the docketing statement that can be printed, completed, and returned to the court electronically (as a scanned copy) or by mail. The User Action Required notification, dubbed 'Case Filing Requested', provides a shortcut to completing the docketing statement electronically and submitting it through PACFile.

 

Each responsible participant may choose how they want to submit their docketing statement and only one method of submission is required.

 

     

 

 

 

UJS Portal Accounts

 

 

 

 

Question

   

Answer

 

 

 

 

How do I create an account on the UJS Web Portal?

 

 

 

The link below opens a PDF document that contains a step-by-step guide for this process:

 

PDF How to Create an Account on the UJS Web Portal

 

     
 

 

Is there a fee for creating a UJS Web Portal account?

 

 

 

No, this is a free service.

 

     
 

How do I access my PACFile Dashboard once my account is created?

 

 

 

After creating your account and logging into the UJS Web Portal, you can access your Dashboard by hovering your mouse pointer over the eCommerce menu and clicking on 'PACFile'.

 

     

 

 

 

Miscellaneous

 

 

 

 

Question

   

Answer

 

 

 

 

What internet browsers support the PACFile application?

 

 

 

PACFile is designed for use with Internet Explorer versions 11 and above. PACFile may work with other browsers, but the application is only supported on Internet Explorer.

 

     
 

When working in PACFile, can I use the Back Arrow in my internet browser screen?

 

 

 

Use of the back arrow is not recommended because it can produce unpredictable or unwanted results. All PACFile screens and features can be accessed using the tools that are available on screen. Most notably, when you are in a Filing Wizard and you want to navigate to a tab you have previously visited, it is recommended that you click on the corresponding tab name and avoid using the back arrow.

 

     

 

 

 

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