Appeals Court Rules

Standing order

Appeals Court Rules Appeals Court standing order governing electronic notification of court orders, notices, and decisions in lieu of paper notice

Courts: Appeals Court
Effective Date: 06/01/2011
Updates: Adopted effective June 1, 2011


Trial Court Law Libraries

A. Registration

(1).  All counsel of record and self-represented litigants may register with the Appeals Court to receive only electronic (i.e., e-mail) notification of all actions, orders, judgments, rescripts, and decisions entered by the Appeals Court, including the scheduling of an oral argument, 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.  Persons who do not register to receive electronic notification will receive only paper notice by first-class U.S. mail.

(2).  Registration is performed by signing and filing the "Consent to Electronic Notification Form" (Consent Form). The Consent Form is available on the Appeals Court's website. 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 with the subject header "E-Notice Consent Registration."

(3).  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 identifying the docket number of each appeal in their Consent Form.

(4).  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.

(5).  Persons who previously registered to receive electronic notices prior to the effective date of this standing order and who wish to continue to receive electronic notices must file a Consent Form. Persons who previously registered and who do not file a Consent Form will no longer receive electronic notices.

B. Transmission of orders, notices, and decisions

The clerk will serve and give notice of actions, orders, judgments, rescripts, and decisions entered by the Appeals Court, including the scheduling of oral argument, by electronic notification to all attorneys and self-represented litigants who have properly registered to receive electronic notification.

C. Transmission of orders, notices, and decisions to self-represented litigants

If during the course of the appeal, a self-represented litigant who has registered to receive electronic notification retains an attorney who enters an appearance, the clerk shall stop serving notice to the former self-represented litigant.

D. Clerk's functions and entry of court-issued documents

(1). 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 Atext-only@ entries on the docket, without a separate paper copy of the action or order. Such orders are official and binding.

(2). Upon the entry of an action, order, judgment, rescript, or decision, the clerk will electronically transmit to registered recipients in the case a Notice of Docket Entry or Decision that contains the court's order, action, notice, or judgment. The full text of a rescript or decision will not accompany the notice because that information is available at the Reporter of Decisions website and will be so noted in the electronic notification.   

(3). Electronic notification of the Notice of Docket Entry or Decision constitutes the notice and service of the action, order, judgment, rescript, or decision required by Mass.R.A.P. 31(c). The clerk shall provide notice in paper form by first-class mail only to a person who has not consented and registered for electronic notification.

E. Recipient's responsibilities and undeliverable electronic notification

(1).  It is the responsibility of counsel and the self-represented litigant 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 three business days of a change of e-mail address.

(2).  If service is made to the recipient's most current 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.

F. Application

The clerk's issuance of electronic notifications pursuant to this standing order shall be deemed to be in compliance with the requirements concerning the clerk's service or mailing of paper notice by conventional or first-class mail, as required by Mass.R.A.P. 110(a)(3)23, and 31(c).



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