How to eFile confidential documents in California
In California, the filer may not establish a document’s security level. A document submitted as “confidential” by the filer will only become confidential pursuant to legal authority or if that determination is made by the court.
For document types that are always confidential, that determination has already been made by the court. An Unlawful Detainer complaint, for instance, would automatically be filed as a confidential document pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure, section 1161.2.
In some courts, the filer may submit a document “conditionally under seal” pursuant to California Rules of Court, rules 2.550-2.551. The document will be sealed pending a ruling by the Court. You can also make a note in the Message to the Clerk box as well.
Each court has its own individual policy regarding eFiling documents under seal. If you have a specific question about a court policy, please contact the appropriate court directly.
For courts that have shared their policies, we have outlined the different procedures below:
If your document is to be sealed pursuant to a court order, you will need to check the box labeled "File conditionally under seal" in the Case Information screen. The document will be sealed pending a ruling by the Court.
If your document is filed under seal or is confidential pursuant to a statute, no special action is needed.
However, if your document is to be sealed pursuant to a court order, please note this in the "Message to eFile Clerk" and place "Filed under seal pursuant to court order dated MM/DD/YY" under the title of each document on the first page.
You cannot eFile a document under seal in San Diego Superior Court. Instead, these documents must be physically filed.
Pursuant to Local Rule 2.11 (Q)(3):
“A motion to file documents under seal must be filed electronically. The redacted and un-redacted (conditionally sealed) documents must be electronically filed in the same transaction. Courtesy copies of the conditionally sealed document(s) must be lodged with the department where the motion will be heard."
First, upload the document to which the Motion to File documents under seal refers, BOTH the redacted and the conditionally sealed (un-redacted) copies. Differentiate between the two different PDFs submitted in your single order by adding the appropriate text to your document title as demonstrated below.
Courts in California that use eFileCA for their backend system have implemented the following process for filing documents confidentially or under seal.
When uploading your documents for eFiling, you will select the Confidential option on the drop-down menu.
You can also indicate that the document should be filed under seal in the Message to the Clerk box. Keep in mind that this should be used as a secondary backup, not as a replacement for earlier requirements.
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