Unable to Download Federal Court Documents (NEF)

Description of the issue: I am an attorney who routinely receives federal court notices of orders, motions and other documents filed in various cases. The notices contain links to pages that open pdf documents. Until recently, I was always able to open the links and the pdfs with no problem. Now, however, I am getting errors that the pdfs either cannot be opened or have already been opened previously (which renders them unable to be opened again). I have cleared cookies but am still having the problem. (I am able to open the links in Edge and Chrome.)

**Steps to Reproduce (add as many as necessary):
Unless you receive federal court Notices of Electronic Filing, I do not know how you can reproduce this problem. For me, Step 1 is to open the NEF email notice. Step 2 is to click on the linked document. Step 3, error occurs.

Actual Result (gifs and screenshots are welcome!):
Error or document fails to open.

Expected result:
Document should open and download.

Reproduces how often:
Every time.

Operating System and Brave Version:
Version 0.65.121 Chromium: 75.0.3770.100 (Official Build) (64-bit)

Additional Information:
As much as I like Brave, this is a problem that is interfering in my business and will cause me to abandon Brave unless I can find a fix.

Thanks for your help.

Thanks for reaching out to us with this.
Can you tell me what the error messages (if any) say specifically when encountered? Also, you say that this behavior only started recently – how recent exactly? Do you remember which update (or how many “updates ago” ) was applied when this started?

Error is probably the wrong characterization. When a filing occurs in one of your cases, the lawyer gets a free copy of the filing. Rather than getting my document, I am being taken either to a login screen (where I can login and access a paid version of the filing) or to a screen that says the filing has already been downloaded and, as a result, is not available.

Thanks for the information – Have you tried viewing/downloading any of these PDF files while having Shields down for the site?

This is often a good first test to try when troubleshooting web compatibility issues in Brave. If you’re able to, try downloading a PDF as you normally would in Brave but ensure you have Shields = down first:

I have shields down permanently on my Gmail tab for that very reason. But the page that opens from these links opens automatically, so there is no time to change the Shields before the problem occurs. Plus, having changed them after-the-fact has no impact.

I have also tried changing the pdf settings by toggling the “Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Brave” setting. No success there either.


So since Shields are both global and site specific, having them off after fact actually does matter – or at least does give us good information. Do the links open to different sites each time (depending on the PDF) or are they all coming from the same source? If the same, Shields (at least site-specific) are likely not the cause.

Let’s take a hypothetical: Say you open one of these PDF links in Brave, the site pops up and Shields are on – PDF errors out. But regardless (again, assuming same source), if you open the Shields panel and turn them off on this site, the next time you open a PDF link, it should launch with Shields down already, since Brave remembers these settings.

So, if site-specific Shields are the issue, then we would expect the above scenario to render/download the PDF file as intended. You say that turning them down after the fact doesn’t load the PDF, but does turning Shields down after the error occurs then re-opening the link to the PDF file work?

That’s a bit wordy now that I’m reading it – let me know if any of that is unclear (I am now recalling that you are an attorney so wordy/lenghty chunks of text probably make you feel right at home :))

Also, if after answering and/or testing the above you still can’t access the file, try changing Brave’s Global Shields Settings instead – some sites have been known to be only effected by one or the other, as well as certain extensions. Speaking of which – any extensions installed?

I appreciate what you are saying and see the wisdom of it. However, I have cases in multiple federal courts and each court issues its own notices, so the downloads occur from different sites. And, even when coming from the same court, the URL is unique for each download, although the base site is similar. However, even if you are correct that I can fix the problem by turning off shields for each court’s website, it would be too much of a PITA to do this for every court.

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I feel you – thank you for your patience. I’m digging around on my end to see if there are any additional options/troubleshooting steps we can take.

I appreciate all your effort, so take your time! Many thanks.

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Has there been any update? The problem continues to be a huge problem.


This problem continues to plague me and, today, Brave began splattering a blue screen of death across my Windows desktop every time I start the browser. I have spent hours today trying simply to open the browser and reboot my computer without success. Given all these problems, I think my experiment with Brave is over. Time to return to safer and more effective browsers.


Did the blue screen/crashing start after the update to v0.66.99?

Yes, although it was not immediate enough that I can claim a causal connection.

I don’t want to waste your time on this. I’ve uninstalled Brave and returned to Opera. I was spending too much time trying to troubleshoot issues with Brave.