If you're looking to get some information from the federal courts, now is the time. PACER fees are increasing about 25%, from 8 cents a page to 10 cents a page.
The fee hike is said to be a response to inflationary pressures.
PACER fees haven't been touched since 2005, when the fee was raised from 7 cents a page to 8 cents a page. It's estimated that the new fee increase will mean that the PACER system will rake in about $100 million a year, Ars Technica reports.
It also means that practicing attorneys may soon be shelling out a lot more money to get access to public records.
Government agencies will be exempted from the fee increase for three years, reports Politico. Users who access less than $15 worth of documents on PACER won't be billed. Currently, users can get $10 worth of documents off of PACER without getting billed.
So, what will your hard-earned dollars be going to? The PACER fee increase is probably going to be funneled toward working on IT projects to help bolster the system, according to Ars Technica.
Or, it could be used to increase technology use in traditional courtrooms. One judge in 2010 said that his courtroom was renovated as a result of PACER fees. And, now "every juror has their own flatscreen monitors," Ars Technica reports.
Snazzy, right? Though it seems that the funds would probably best be spent strengthening the internal PACER system.
PACER usage has increased exponentially, as more and more individuals head toward getting documents electronically. And, the system is fragmented. Most attorneys know that PACER isn't just one website. In fact, there are about 200 different PACER sites out there, each serving a different judicial district, reports Ars Technica.
And, each PACER website likely comes with its own IT-related cost. It's no wonder that PACER fees are increasing. Attorneys everywhere should start bracing themselves for higher costs - the increase will likely take effect sometime in the next six months, according to the court's press release.