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Obtaining Court Documents
The United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Rhode Island is pleased to offer the public this information which explains various ways of obtaining copies of documents in court cases. Below, you will find information regarding the Clerk's office, the court website and the National Archives and Records Administration.
NOTICE: Criminal Penalties for concealment, removal or mutilation of court reports.
Title 18 USC Section 2071(a) provides that: Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates or destroys, or attempts to do so, or with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper document or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in the United States shall be fined not more than $2,000.00 or imprisoned not more than three years or both.
From the Clerk's Office
During the course of a case, court documents are maintained at the Federal Center, 380 Westminster Street, 6th floor, Providence, RI. Since records are open for viewing, members of the public may visit the office to view and make copies. The most important aspects to keep in mind are:
There is no fee to request and view your case if the case is available in the Clerk's office.
Documents in cases filed from January 1998 to present are available in electronic form and can be obtained directly from CM/ECF with a PACER login and password. Alternatively, you may contact the Clerk's office by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone at 401-626-3100 and request a copy of an electronic document in your case without charge.
To sign up for a new PACER account click here. If you accrue charges totalling less than $15.00 in any given quarter, fees are waived for that quarter. The PACER access charge is .10 cents per page.
Documents in cases filed prior to1998 are available in hard copy only. Case files are held at the Clerk's office for 2 years after the closing of the case. (These cases are maintained at the Clerk's office as space permits, therefore we strongly suggest that you call and verify that your case is on site before visiting the Clerk's office).
Imaged copies of documents filed in 1998 to current can be printed from the public computers in the Clerk's office for a fee of .10 cents per page.
When visiting the Clerk's office, keep in mind that fees are associated with obtaining copies of your documents. These fees are, but are not limited to:
- $64 case retrieval fee from the FRC
- $11 fee per certification of document
$30 fee for CD replications of court hearings
On the Court Website
Court information and documents can be accessed via the court website. In order to view this information, computer users must have the minimum requirements to view the information:
- Windows XP or higher
- Firefox or Internet Explorer
- Internet Access
- PACER ID and password*
Adobe Acrobat Reader Program (FREE)
* A login and password, issued by the PACER Service Center, is required for access to case query information only. Computer users may register on-line from the PACER website. Click on the hyperlink for more information. A user fee (for the case query information ONLY) of .10 cents/screen will be charged.
The Federal Records Center (FRC) in Waltham, Massachusetts stores inactive records. There are two ways of reviewing and/or obtaining copies of a bankruptcy case. (Note: cases filed previous to 1998 are held at the Clerk's office for 2 years after the closing of the case. We strongly suggest that you call before visiting the Clerk's office to verify where your case is being maintained).
- Option #1 Calling the FRC (781-663-0378) and requesting that your document be tranferred electronically (via download), faxed, emailed or mailed to you. There are varying fees associated with this depending on the option package chosen, however, this option is almost always less expensive than having the Clerk's office retrieve your file for you. NOTE Credit card requests will be processed within 2-3 days of the order. Information for this option is available at NARA, click on Order Reproductions>Court Records>Bankruptcy Cases. Click here for the Bankruptcy Order form.
- Option #2 Calling (401-626-3100) or visiting the Clerk's office to order the case from the FRC. You may order the case for $64 via the Clerk's office. Various methods of payment are accepted. The case will arrive at the Clerk's office 3-5 days after the order has been placed. When the case arrives, you may view and request that copies of the file be made at .50 cents per page
*Please Note that as of October 1, 2010, NARA no longer provides on site bankruptcy court case review services to the public. This change applies to all closed business and personal bankruptcy case files that remain in legal custody of the court but are physically stored at the NARA Federal Records Center; Waltham facility.