Appeals Court Rules

Standing order

Appeals Court Rules Appeals Court standing order requiring the electronic filing of all motions and letters filed after panel assignment

Courts: Appeals Court
Effective Date: 06/01/2011
Updates: Adopted effective May 1, 2010 Amended effective June 1, 2011


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Standing order

 After the Appeals Court assigns a case to a panel of justices for consideration on the merits, either with or without oral argument, all subsequent papers in the case shall be filed electronically by e-mailing a searchable PDF (portable document format) of the document to the Clerk's Office.  The PDF will be filed in lieu of the original paper and any additional paper copies of the document that are otherwise required by the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure.  The court may decline to docket an original paper that is unaccompanied by an electronically filed PDF unless the court allows the filing party's motion for waiver of the standing order, upon a showing of good cause.

A. Electronic filing procedures

  1. The document shall be filed by e-mailing the PDF, including any attachments and a certificate of service, to:  
  2. The court will deem the document filed on the date it receives the e-mail, if it is received during normal business hours.  If the document is e-mailed on a weekend, holiday, or during hours when the court is closed, the document will be deemed filed on the date when the court is next open for business.
  3. The person filing the PDF may electronically sign the document and certificate of service. The proper format for an electronic signature is "/s/" followed by the name of the filer.  E.g. "/s/ Jason Jones."
  4. Upon agreement between the parties, the service of documents by electronic mail will be deemed in compliance with Mass.R.A.P. 13(c).
  5. This standing order does not apply to filings by incarcerated self-represented litigants.
  6. An e-mail that attaches only a word processing document instead of a PDF will not be accepted for filing.

B. Formatting requirements for PDF document name

The subject line of the e-mail and the PDF's file name shall consist of:

(1) an abbreviated docket number, e.g., 11P0023 (i.e., a two digit year followed, without a space, by a "P" followed, without a space, by the last four digits of the docket number);

(2) a hyphen; and,

(3) a description of the filing containing no more than 56 characters, indicating what the document is and who filed it.

Sample acceptable document names include:

11P0826-Deft Ellis Petition for Rehearing.pdf;
10P1238-Appellee Smith 16(l) letter.pdf; or
09P1051-Defendant McCarthy Motion for Fees.pdf


This standing order is designed to allow more prompt and efficient docketing and distribution of certain motions and letters that require review by a panel of Justices. The Order also is designed to aid the bar by reducing the cost of providing multiple copies of certain motions and letters. Finally, the order is designed as a pilot so that both the court and the bar can continue exploration of the benefits and challenges of electronic document filing. The formatting requirements are designed to allow an automated transfer of the document from the CD-ROM or email to the Court's document management system, where it will be instantly available to the Justices and court personnel.

Guide to creating searchable Portable Document File (PDF)


Updates: Adopted effective May 1, 2010 Amended effective June 1, 2011


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