Following the public's positive response to the Appeals Court's electronic filing program provided at eFileMA.com and the Court's desire to maximize utilization of the system, the Appeals Court is publishing for public review and comment the attached proposed standing order and amendments related to electronic filing. In 2010, the Appeals Court adopted standing orders concerning electronic notices and email filings that served as the foundation for parties and the Court to transition to electronic filing. In 2016, in coordination with the Supreme Judicial Court and the Trial Court, the Appeals Court launched its e-filing program at eFileMA.com. The Appeals Court program initially included civil cases and subsequently expanded to self-represented litigants, criminal cases, and the Court's single justice docket. The final expansion to impounded documents is anticipated in 2018.  

The Appeals Court's system allows attorneys and litigants to use eFileMA.com to file and serve a PDF and submit no paper original or copies. From June through September 2017, 71% of all eligible briefs and appendices were e-filed, including 85% of briefs in criminal cases and 65% in civil cases. As the Appeals Court's e-filing platform is complete and operating successfully, the Court proposes adoption of a standing order requiring certain filings to be e-filed and other filings to be voluntarily e-filed, as specified in the proposal. Under the standing order, any party may file a motion for waiver of any mandatory requirement and instead file paper copies.  

The Appeals Court respectfully invites comments on the following proposals: 

I.  Adoption of Appeals Court Standing Order Concerning Electronic Filing. 

 This standing order would:

  • Make mandatory the registration in eFileMA.com by all attorneys with cases in the Appeals Court, which would also enroll the attorney in e-service and the Court's e-notice program.
  • Make voluntary the registration and any e-filing of any document by a self-represented litigant (except litigants confined in an institution, who are exempt from e-filing).
  • Make mandatory in criminal cases the e-filing by attorneys of all filings that are not impounded.
  • Make mandatory in civil cases the e-filing by attorneys of briefs and record appendix volumes that are not impounded.
  • Make voluntary the e-filing of impounded documents in civil and criminal cases, contingent upon the system enhancements being completed.
  • Allow for waiver of the mandatory e-filing requirement by motion establishing undue hardship, significant prejudice, exigency, or other good cause.
  •  Close the emotions@appct.state.ma.us address required by Appeals Court standing orders for emailing PDFs of certain filings.
  • Incorporate and supersede the standing order regarding e-mail filing of all post-panel motions and letters.
  • Incorporate and supersede the order of July 29, 2016, that reduced the required number of copies of paper briefs and appendices from 7 to 4 given the Court's improved efficiencies and paperless practices.


II.  Amendments to or Rescission of Related Appeals Court Standing Orders and Orders.

1.  Amendments to the Standing Order Concerning Petitions to the Single Justice Pursuant to G. L. c. 231, sec. 118 (First Paragraph) or Rule 12(a) of the Uniform Rules on Impoundment Procedure, and the Standing Order Governing Motions to Stay a Judgment or Execution of Sentence Filed Pursuant to M.R.A.P. 6.

  • The amendments would remove mention of the "emotions@appct.state.ma.us" email address, and replace each with a reference to the electronic filing system, which is available at eFileMA.com.
  • The amendments would provide for electronic service to parties.


2.  Rescission of the "Standing Order Requiring the Electronic Filing of All Motions and Letters Filed After Panel Assignment."

  • This standing order was adopted in 2010 and requires certain filings to be emailed to the Court's "emotions@appct.state.ma.us" email address.  The address will be closed and all future electronic filings will be submitted via eFileMA.com pursuant to the proposed Appeals Court Standing Order Concerning Electronic Filing.  

3.  Rescission of the Appeals Court Order Concerning Electronic Filing Pilot Project, adopted March 30, 2016. 

  • This order will be superseded by adoption of the proposed Appeals Court Standing Order Concerning Electronic Filing.


4.  Rescission of the Appeals Court Order Concerning Number of Copies of Brief and Record Appendix to be Filed, adopted July 29, 2016.  

  • This order will be superseded by adoption of the proposed Appeals Court Standing Order Concerning Electronic Filing.


III.  Effective Date.  An effective date is not identified because the proposed orders are contingent upon the Appeals Court's review of all public comments, any necessary revisions, and approval by the Supreme Judicial Court. The Appeals Court will provide sufficient advance notice and educational opportunities for parties unfamiliar with the e-filing system before, and continue such opportunities after, the adoption of any of the above orders.  For further information about the Appeals Court's program, please visit the Appeals Court's website.

IV.  Comments.  Comments may be emailed to efilerulescomment@jud.state.ma.us or by regular mail to Joseph Stanton, Clerk, Massachusetts Appeals Court, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Room 1200, Boston, MA 02108, on or before January 5, 2018.  

Proposed Appeals Court Order Concerning Electronic Filing and Related Amendments pdf format of Proposed Appeals Court Order on Electronic Filing