Overview of Standing Order Governing Electronic Notification of Court Orders, Notices, and Decisions in Lieu of Paper Notice

Counsel and self-represented parties may register with the Appeals Court to receive e-mail notification of actions, orders, and decisions entered by the Appeals Court.

Effective June 1, 2011, a newly approved standing order provides that all counsel of record and self-represented litigants may register with the Appeals Court to receive only electronic (i.e., e-mail) notification of actions, orders, judgments, rescripts, and decisions entered by the Appeals Court, including notices scheduling an oral argument, in an appeal in which they are participating. Persons who register to receive electronic notification will not receive paper notice by first-class U.S. mail. Persons who do not register to receive electronic notification will receive only paper notice sent by first-class U.S. mail and will not receive any electronic notice.

At this time, neither a paper nor PDF copy of the Appeals Court's decision or rescript will accompany the electronic notification. Instead, the Appeals Court will issue an electronic "Notice of Decision" that will state that the court has issued a decision, the language of the Appeals Court's disposition (e.g., "judgment affirmed"), and direct the recipient to the website of the Reporter of Decisions, where the decision can be read and printed.

Consent Form:  

All interested persons must register by signing and filing the " Consent to Electronic Notification Form pdf format of E-notification Consent
" (Consent Form).  The completed Consent Form can be filed with the Clerk's Office either as an original paper by hand delivery or by first-class mail, or by scanning it - with the required written signature - in portable document format (PDF) and emailing the PDF to enoticesignup@appct.state.ma.us with the subject header "E-Notice Consent Registration." 

Registrations for attorneys will be applied to all pending and future notifications entered in the Appeals Court involving that attorney. Once the Consent Form has been registered for an attorney, there is no need to register separately for each appeal. Self-represented litigants must register separately in each appeal for which they seek to receive electronic notice by specifying the active docket numbers in their Consent Form.

Limits on Number of E-mail Addresses:  

Only one e-mail address per attorney or self-represented litigant can be used at a time.  Each attorney can designate a second person employed at the same law firm or office (e.g., co-counsel, secretary, assistant district attorney, etc.) to receive a copy of all electronic notifications sent to the attorney.

Registrants' Responsibilities:  

It is the responsibility of the attorney or self-represented litigant to verify that their e-mail inbox is working properly and receiving incoming e-mails at all times from the Appeals Court. It is the responsibility of the registered attorney or self-represented litigant to submit a " Change of Electronic Mail Address Form pdf format of Change of E-mail Address Form
" (Change of Address Form) to update and change to a different e-mail address. The completed Change of Address Form can be filed with the Clerk's Office either as an original paper by hand delivery or by first-class mail, or by scanning it - with the required written signature - in portable document format (PDF) and emailing the PDF to enoticesignup@appct.state.ma.us with the subject header "E-Notice Change of Address."

Compliance with Applicable Rules of Appellate Procedure:  

The standing order deems the clerk's issuance of electronic notifications to be in compliance with the applicable Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure that pertain to the appellate court clerk's service or mailing of a paper notice by U.S. Mail.  See Mass.R.A.P. 1 , 10(a)(3) , 23 ,  and 31(c) . The standing order does not alter the clerk's responsibility to send a paper copy of rescripts and notices to the trial court. See Mass.R.A.P. 23 , 29(b) ; cf. Mass.R.A.P. 28 .

 


Important:  At this time, the Supreme Judicial Court has not adopted this standing order for application in its Clerk's Office for Suffolk County and Clerk's Office for the Commonwealth. Should the Supreme Judicial Court adopt a similar standing order for application in either or both the Office of the Clerk for the Commonwealth and Clerk for Suffolk County, an attorney or self-represented litigant who properly registered to receive electronic notifications from the Appeals Court will also be deemed to have registered to receive electronic notifications from the Supreme Judicial Court, if and when the Supreme Judicial Court adopts an electronic notification program.