(a) Application; When Filed; Grounds. An appeal within the concurrent appellate jurisdiction of the Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court shall be entered in the Appeals Court before a party may apply to the Supreme Judicial Court for direct appellate review. Within twenty days after the docketing of an appeal in the Appeals Court, any party to the case (or two or more parties jointly) may apply in writing to the Supreme Judicial Court for direct appellate review, provided the questions presented by the appeal are: (1) questions of first impression or novel questions of law which should be submitted for final determination to the Supreme Judicial Court; (2) questions of law concerning the Constitution of the Commonwealth or questions concerning the Constitution of the United States which have been raised in a court of the Commonwealth; or (3) questions of such public interest that justice requires a final determination by the full Supreme Judicial Court. Oral argument in support of an application will not be permitted except by order of court.
(b) Contents of Application; Form. The application for direct appellate review shall contain, in the following order: (1) a request for direct appellate review; (2) a statement of prior proceedings in the case, (3) a short statement of facts relevant to the appeal; (4) a statement of the issues of law raised by the appeal, together with a statement indicating whether the issues were raised and properly preserved in the lower court; (5) a brief argument thereon (covering not more than ten pages of typing) including appropriate authorities, in support of the applicant's position on such issues; and (6) a statement of reasons why direct appellate review is appropriate. A certified copy of the docket entries shall be appended to the application. The applicant shall also append a copy of any written decision, memorandum, findings, rulings, or report of the lower court relevant to the appeal. The application shall comply with the requirements of Rule 20.
(c) Opposition; Form. Within ten days after the filing of the application, any other party to the case may, but need not, file and serve an opposition thereto (covering not more than ten pages of typing) setting forth reason why the application should not be granted. The opposition shall not restate matters described in subdivision (b)(2) and (3) of this rule unless the opposing party is dissatisfied with the statement thereof contained in the application. The opposition shall comply with the requirements of Rule 20.
(d) Filing; Service. One copy of the application and one copy of each opposition shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the Appeals Court. An original and seventeen copies of the application and of each opposition shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the full Supreme Judicial Court. Filing and service of the application and of any opposition shall comply with Rule 13.
(e) Effect of Application Upon Appeal. The filing of an application for direct appellate review shall not extend the time for filing briefs or doing any other act required to be done under these rules.
(f) Vote of Direct Appellate Review; Certification. If any two justices of the Supreme Judicial Court vote for direct appellate review, or if a majority of the justices of the Appeals Court shall certify that direct appellate review is in the public interest, an order allowing the application (or transferring the appeal sua sponte) or the certificate, as the case may be, shall be transmitted to the clerk of the Appeals Court; upon receipt, direct appellate review shall be deemed granted. The clerk shall forthwith transmit to the clerk of the full Supreme Judicial Court all papers theretofore filed in the case and shall notify the clerk of the lower court that the appeal has been transferred.
(g) Cases Transferred for Direct Review; Time for Serving and Filing Briefs. In any appeal transferred to the full Supreme Judicial Court from the Appeals Court:
(1) If at the time of transfer all parties have served and filed briefs in the Appeals Court, no further briefs may be filed except that a reply brief may be served and filed on or before the last date allowable had the case not been transferred, or within ten days after the date on which the appeal is docketed in the full Supreme Judicial Court, whichever is later.
(2) If at the time of transfer only the appellant's brief has been served and filed in the Appeals Court the appellant may, but need not, serve and file an amended brief within twenty days after the date on which the appeal is docketed in the full Supreme Judicial Court. The appellee shall serve and file his brief within thirty days after service of any amended brief of the appellant, or within fifty days after the date on which the appeal is docketed in the full Supreme Judicial Court, whichever is later.
(4) If at the time of transfer to the full Supreme Judicial Court no party to the appeal has served or filed a brief, the appellant shall serve and file a brief within twenty days after the date on which the appeal is docketed in the full Supreme Judicial Court or within forty days after the date on which the appeal was docketed in the Appeals Court, whichever is later.
Amended May 15, 1979, effective July 1, 1979; amended effective July 1, 1991; April 14, 1995; January 29, 1996; amended October 30, 1997, effective January 1, 1998; June 26, 2002, effective September 3, 2002.