A single justice of the Appeals Court may review interlocutory orders and orders for injunctive relief issued by certain Trial Court Departments, as well as requests for review of summary process appeal bonds, certain attorney's fee awards, motions for stays (postponement) of civil judgments or criminal sentences pending appeal, and motions to review impoundment orders. Each associate justice sits as single justice for a month at a time on a rotating basis.

The guidance on this page does not substitute for a review of existing statutes, standing orders, and relevant case law.

The following are matters which can be filed and considered in the single justice session:

In general, and except where instructed otherwise by standing orders, parties should refer to Mass. R. A. P. 20 with respect to the formatting of all papers submitted to the single justice. All filings to the single justice must be accompanied by a certificate of service in compliance with Mass. R. A. P. 13(d) .

The guidance on this page does not substitute for a review of existing statutes, standing orders, and relevant case law with respect to interlocutory appeals. The single justice may not have jurisdiction to review certain orders, or there may be another avenue of relief dictated for an order of a specific nature. Parties should be aware of the limitations of the single justice’s jurisdiction at the time of filing.

Petitions filed pursuant to G. L. c. 231, § 118, para. 1 (interlocutory review)  

Governing Statute/Rule: G.L. c. 231, § 118, paragraph 1 . Notably, the 30-day deadline for filing a petition pursuant to G.L. c. 231, § 118, is set by statute and the Appeals Court cannot enlarge it. Also see Appeals Court Standing Order Concerning Petitions to the Single Justice, effective June 1, 2011 .

Notice of Appeal: Not required. Petition must be filed directly with the Appeals Court, with service on all parties to the case and a courtesy copy to the Trial Court. The petition, fee, and supporting papers must be entered in the Appeals Court within 30 days of the date the order at issue was entered in the trial court’s docket.

Fee: $315 or a motion to waive entry fee may be filed with a completed affidavit of indigency.

Format: Petitions filed pursuant to G.L. c. 231, § 118, paragraph 1 (interlocutory review) are governed by a court standing order. The Appeals Court expects that all petitions filed to the single justice will comply with the standing order, so it is important to read it carefully. 

Back to top.

Mass.R. A. P. 6 motions for stay of judgment or stay of sentence pending appeal  

Governing Statute/Rule: Appeals Court Standing Order Governing Motions to Stay Filed Pursuant to Mass. R. A. P. 6 , and Mass. R. A. P. 6 .

Notice of Appeal: Must be filed with the clerk of the trial court within 30 days of entry of the judgment or conviction prior to the filing of a motion to stay. The motion to stay must ordinarily be filed in the trial court in the first instance. The motion may be filed directly to the Appeals Court, with service on all parties to the case and a courtesy copy to the Trial Court.

Fee: $315 unless it is being filed as part of an existing Appeals Court matter or a motion to waive entry fee may be filed with a completed affidavit of indigency. $300 for criminal motions.

Format: Motions to Stay pursuant to Mass. R. A. P. 6 are also governed by standing order. Again, the Appeals Court expects that all Rule 6 motions filed to the single justice will comply with the standing order, so it is important to read it carefully.

Back to top.

Motions for leave to file a notice of appeal late and motions to docket the appeal late and procedural motions to assist the appellate process  

Governing Statute/Rule: Mass. R. A. P. 15 (citing the broad powers available to the single justice), 4c , 14b and case law. Motions may be filed directly to the Appeals Court, with service on all parties to the case and a courtesy copy to the Trial Court.

Fee: $315 in a civil case and $300 in criminal cases, or a motion to waive entry fee may be filed with a completed affidavit of indigency.

Format: Motions for leave to file a notice of appeal late, or to docket the appeal late, must be styled as motions (see Mass. R. A. P. 20 and 15 ) and should be accompanied by an affidavit which explains:

  1. meritorious appellate issues (that is, what specific issues will be raised on appeal); and
  2. excusable neglect (that is, why specifically did the party fail to file on time).

Back to top.

Summary process appeal bonds pursuant to G. L. c. 239, § 5  

Governing Statute/Rule: G. L. c. 239, § 5

Notice of Appeal: Any party to the action may file a notice of appeal with the clerk of the trial court either within 10 days from the entry date of the order, or within 6 days after receiving notice of the court's decision on the motion to waive bond, whichever is later. This appeal period is statutory and cannot be enlarged. Note that the timely filing of an appeal will stay the requirement to post bond or make periodic payments.

Fee: None; entry on the docket is automatic upon receipt of the trial court’s assembly.

Format: Once the notice of appeal is filed, the trial court clerk will transmit the record to the Appeals Court. The parties are not required to file anything further.

Hearing: The Appeals Court single justice is required to schedule a hearing. You will receive a notice of the hearing with its date and time.

Back to top.

Appeals for waiver of costs and fees pursuant to G. L. c. 261, § 27D  

Governing Statute/Rule: G. L. c. 261, § 27D

Notice of Appeal: Must be filed with the court that issued the denial of a request for waiver, substitution, or payment within 7 days after being notified of the denial.

Fee: None; entry on the docket is automatic upon receipt of the trial court’s assembly.

Format: Once the notice of appeal is filed, the trial court judge will prepare written findings and will submit those findings and relevant papers to the Appeals Court. The single justice may request more information or additional documents.

Back to top.

Award of Attorney’s Fees pursuant to G. L. c. 231, §§ 6F and 6G  

Governing Statute/Rule: G.L. c. 231, § 6F and 6G

Notice of Appeal: Must be filed with the clerk of the trial 10 days of receipt of the decision. The party must file separate notices of appeal as to the final judgment and an award or order under G.L. c. 231 §§ 6F and 6G

Fee: None; entry on the docket is automatic upon receipt of the trial court’s assembly.

Format: The request for review of a lower court order, awarding or denying attorney’s fees, is to be filed in the same format as a petition pursuant to G.L. c. 231 § 118, and as set out in the standing order governing those petitions.

Back to top.

Jurisdictional amount dismissals pursuant to G.L. c. 212 § 3A and G.L. c. 218 § 19  

Governing Statute/Rule: G. L. c. 212 § 3A and G. L. c. 218 § 19

Notice of Appeal: Must be filed with the clerk of the trial court within 7 days after receiving notice of the dismissal.

Fee: None; entry on the docket is automatic upon receipt of the trial court’s assembly.

Format: Once the notice of appeal is filed, the trial court clerk’s office shall notify the trial court judge, who will prepare written findings. The trial court clerk’s office shall submit those findings and relevant papers to the Appeals Court. The single justice may request more information or additional documents. 

Back to top.

Appeals of impoundment orders  

Governing Statute/Rule: Rule 12 of the Uniform Rules on Impoundment Procedure provides that the single justice of an appellate court may review a lower court order impounding or refusing to impound material.

Fee: $315 a motion to waive entry fee may be filed with a completed affidavit of indigency.

Format: The request for review of a lower court order, impounding or refusing to impound, is to be filed in the same format as a petition pursuant to G.L. c. 231 § 118 , and as set out in the standing order governing those petitions .

Back to top.