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Table of Contents

(a) Governing rules and orders

(1) Filers who submit documents electronically through the e-filing service provider ("Provider"), on the Massachusetts Court System Odyssey File and Serve Site ("EfileMA.com") shall comply with S.J.C. Rule 1:25, Massachusetts Rules of Electronic Filing ("E-Filing Rules"),1  the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure, the Appeals Court electronic filing format requirements found on the Appeals Court website,2  and all other applicable Appeals Court Rules.

(2) To the extent that any court rule or standing order is inconsistent with this Rule, the E-Filing Rules, or the Appeals Court electronic filing format requirements found on the Appeals Court website, the E-Filing Rules, this Rule, and the Appeals Court electronic filing format requirements shall control.

(b) Mandatory attorney registration for electronic filing and service

All law firms and attorneys with cases pending in the Appeals Court shall register for electronic filing at eFileMA.com.  Registration shall not constitute a notice of appearance in any particular case.  Attorney registrants are required to use their business email address on file with the Board of Bar Overseers and to maintain their name and business email address on the eFileMA.com "Public List."  If such email address is different from the email address previously registered with the Appeals Court for receipt of electronic court notices, the filer shall file a change of email address with the Appeals Court.

(c) Mandatory attorney electronic filing

Use of the eFileMA.com system constitutes "e-filed" as used herein.  The Appeals Court designates each case docket as either: (i) "public" meaning all data and documents are publicly accessible; (ii) "partially impounded," meaning some information or documents are publicly accessible and other data or document(s) are not publicly accessible; or (iii) "impounded," meaning no case information or records are publicly accessible.  Except as provided in Appeals Court Rule 13.0(e)(l) (which provides there is no requirement to e-file an impounded document), the following documents filed by an attorney representing a party to a case shall be filed electronically using eFileMA.com:

(1) All documents in public and partially impounded criminal panel cases (on the court's "P" docket);

(2) All briefs and appendices in public and partially impounded civil panel cases (on the court's "P" docket);

(3) All docketing statements in public and partially impounded civil and criminal panel cases (filers may request a waiver of the Provider convenience fee using a waiver account);

(4) All documents in public and partially impounded civil and criminal panel cases filed after the Appeals Court assigns a case to a panel of justices for consideration on the merits, either with or without oral argument (filers may request a waiver of the Provider convenience fee using a waiver account); and

(5) All documents in public and partially impounded single justice cases (on the court's "J" docket).

Except upon motion and order as provided in Appeals Court Rule 13.0(f), the Appeals Court may decline to docket any of the foregoing documents submitted on paper.

(d) Voluntary electronic filing by attorneys and self-represented litigants

(1) Voluntary e-filing.  An attorney or self-represented litigant may voluntarily e-file any document that is not identified as mandatory in Appeals Court Rule 13.0(c).  The Appeals Court encourages all attorneys and self-represented litigants in public, partially impounded, and impounded cases, to e-file all documents submitted to the court.

(2) Self-represented litigants.  Self-represented litigants may register for electronic filing at eFileMA.com.

(3) Public Access Scanner and Terminal.  A public access computer terminal and scanner are located in the Clerk's Office of the Appeals Court, which may be used by any party to e-file a paper document without payment of the Provider convenience fee.

(e) Electronic filing of impounded documents

(1) Voluntary e-filing.  Impounded documents may be e-filed through efileMA.com, but there is no requirement to e-file an impounded document.

(2) Marking impounded documents.  Prior to e-filing, the filer shall mark any impounded document as impounded on the cover or first page of the document, as required by E-Filing Rule 11, Mass. R. A. P. 16(m) and 18(d).

(3) Designation of impounded documents on eFileMA.com.  The filer shall also designate the document as impounded using the appropriate field on eFileMA.com, which shall satisfy the requirement of providing written notice to the clerk of a document's impounded status.  Impounded documents may otherwise be e-filed in the same manner as non-impounded documents.

(4) Confidentiality.  The confidentiality of an electronic record or an electronic or paper copy thereof is equivalent to that of a paper record.  Access may be permitted only to the extent provided by law.  E-notices from the eFileMA.com system containing hyperlinks to impounded documents shall be treated as confidential.

(f) Waiver of mandatory electronic filing and permission to file paper original and Copies.

(1) Any document required to be e-filed under Appeals Court Rule 13.0(c) may be paper-filed upon allowance of a motion to waive the e-filing requirement, preferably filed in advance or with the document.  The motion must contain a showing of undue hardship, significant prejudice, exigency, or other good cause. 

(2) For self-represented litigants who are confined in an institution, the requirement of Mass. R. A. P. 20(a)(6)(A) that a brief have a color cover is suspended; no color cover is required. 

(g) Format

All e-filed documents shall comply with the formatting requirements of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure except as modified by the Appeals Court's electronic filing format requirements found on the Appeals Court website.  See generally E-Filing Rule 1.

(h) No paper duplicates

All documents that are e-filed shall be submitted electronically only.  Neither a paper original nor duplicate shall be filed unless specifically requested by the Court.

(i) Electronic service of e-filed documents

(1) Service of Documents E-Filed in the Appeals Court.  Pursuant to E-Filing Rule 3(d), the filer's registration with eFileMA.com constitutes consent to receive electronic service in all cases.  All documents submitted electronically through EfileMA.com may be electronically served through eFileMA.com pursuant to E-Filing Rule 7, provided the other party or party's attorney has registered with eFileMA.com.  Registered filers must maintain their name and email address on the eFileMA.com "Public List."  If a party's representative has not registered with eFileMA.com, service should be made by the conventional methods (e.g., paper copies and first class mail or its equivalent [as defined by Mass. R. A. P. 1(c)]).

(2) No Copies of Direct or Further Appellate Review Applications or Responses.  A party shall not file in the Appeals Court a copy of any application or response that is filed in the Supreme Judicial Court for direct appellate review or further appellate review, pursuant to Mass. R. A. P. 11 and 27.1.

(j) Mandatory electronic notice

(1) Notice from Provider.  The eFileMA.com system will transmit electronic notifications (i) when an e-filed document is submitted, (ii) when the Clerk's Office accepts or rejects the document, and (iii) possibly at other times during an e-filing transaction.

(2) Notice from the Appeals Court.  All attorneys will receive electronic notifications in lieu of paper notices of the court's actions, orders, judgments, rescripts, and decisions.  The Court will use the business e-mail addresses on file with the Board of Bar Overseers pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 4:02(11) and Mass. R. A. P. 31(c).  Attorneys must ensure that their business email address registered with the Board of Bar Overseers is up to date.  A self-represented litigant may authorize the Court to send electronic notice in lieu of paper notices.

(k) Support

All technical support shall be provided by Provider. The Appeals Court Clerk's Office may be contacted with procedural questions or with questions regarding the application of this Order.

Downloads for Appeals Court Rule 13.0: Electronic filing

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