Appeals Court Rules

Appeals Court Rules  Appeals Court Rule 31.0: Electronic notification of court orders, notices, and decisions in lieu of paper notice

Adopted Date: 03/05/2020
Effective Date: 07/01/2020
Updates: Adopted March 5, 2020, effective July 1, 2020

Adopted from former Appeals Court Standing Order Governing Electronic Notification of Court Orders, Notices, and Decisions in Lieu of Paper Notice.

Table of Contents

(a) Transmission of orders, notices, and decisions

The clerk will serve and give notice of entry of an appeal, actions, orders, judgments, rescripts, and decisions entered by the Appeals Court, including the scheduling of oral argument, by electronic (i.e., e-mail) notification ("electronic notification") to all attorneys and to any self-represented litigant who has properly registered to receive electronic notification.

(b) Clerk's functions and entry of court-issued documents

The court may issue orders through the creation of a docket entry and the issuance of notice thereof to the parties.  Any order or document electronically issued by the court without the original signature of a judge or authorized court personnel has the same force and effect as if the judge or clerk had signed a paper copy of the order.  Actions or orders also may be issued as "text-only" entries on the docket, without a separate paper copy of the action or order.

(c) Voluntary registration by self-represented litigants

(1) All self-represented litigants may register with the Appeals Court to receive only electronic (i.e., e-mail) notification in an appeal in which they are participating.  Persons who register to receive electronic notification will not receive any paper notice by first-class U.S. mail. 

(2) Registration by Self-Represented Litigants is performed by signing and filing the Consent to Electronic Notification Form (Consent Form).  The Consent Form and instructions for filing are available on the Appeals Court's website.  

(3) Self-represented litigants must register separately in each appeal for which they seek to receive electronic notice by identifying the docket number of each appeal in their Consent Form. 

(d) Mandatory attorney electronic notice

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 email addresses on file with the Board of Bar Overseers pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 4:02(11).  

(e) Recipient's responsibilities and undeliverable electronic notification

(1) It is the responsibility of all attorneys and self-represented litigants who register for electronic notification to maintain a current e-mail address with the court, to verify that their e-mail inbox is working properly and receiving incoming electronic notifications at all times from the court, and to file a Change of Electronic Mail Address Form within 3 business days of a change of e-mail address.  Attorneys must ensure that their business email address registered with the Board of Bar Overseers is up to date.  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.

(2) If service is made to the recipient's electronic mail address on file with the court and returned to the court as undeliverable, the notice will then be served by first-class mail; provided, however, any time period countable from the completion of service of notice shall be based upon the service of the electronic notice.  The recipient's e-mail address will be deactivated until the recipient provides written notice to the court that the address is again receiving electronic notifications. 

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