Pilot Program Requires Filing of Docketing Statements for All Appeals (Civil and Criminal)
Overview of Pilot Program
The Appeals Court has commenced a pilot program effective December 1, 2011, that requires the appellants and cross-appellants in all civil and criminal appeals (excluding incarcerated self-represented litigants) to complete and file a docketing statement within fourteen days after the Appeals Court issues the "Notice of Entry" of the appeal. Failure to file the docketing statement can result in the denial of motions to enlarge the brief due date, without prejudice to refilling the motion upon submission of the docketing statement. The docketing statement for civil appellants can be found here. The docketing statement for criminal appellants can be found here. The statements are posted on the Appeals Court's website as a PDF form that has dropdown menus, calendars, and text that automatically fills in certain information. Attorneys and litigants can complete the form on-line, save it, sign it electronically, file it by e-mail, and serve it by e-mail upon consenting parties.
The docketing statements will provide the court with important background information that will be useful when the case is entered, screened, and under consideration. The pilot program format will be used to gain data and determine whether the form should be changed.
For more information, click here to view the Supreme Judicial Court orders approving the adoption of the pilot programs for civil and criminal docketing statements. These approvals are current as of December 17, 2012.
UPDATE: Since the pilot program began, the court has heard questions from attorneys and self-represented litigants who are unable to work with or save the civil or criminal docketing statements. The forms were reviewed as of February 2012 by court IT personnel to confirm that the forms are accessible, fill-able and savable and that "reader extensions" are in place. With the "reader extensions," users need only Adobe Reader to submit the docketing statement forms. Here are some troubleshooting tips:
1. Users must have Adobe Reader 7.0 or greater to user the extensions.
2. Adobe Reader is a free software and it is available for download from a number of sites.
3. The "reader extensions" allow users with Adobe Reader to save data into the form - with a "one time only" restriction.
4. The "one time only" restriction is a licensing issue: a user can save only one filled copy of the form from the website, meaning:
a. Users must open the form on the website, fill it out, and then save it to their desktop using "Save As..."
b. The filled and saved version can then be attached to an e-mail.