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Electronic Filing at the Supreme Judicial Court - Single Justice

The Office of Clerk Maura S. Doyle now accepts electronic filings in all single justice cases. Counsel and self-represented plaintiffs/petitioners are strongly encouraged to e-file their pleadings and correspondence in these cases. Instructions will be found below. The Clerk's Office will continue to post updates on this page that relate to electronic filing, so bookmark this page and check back periodically.

Table of Contents

Please Note: Mandatory Supreme Judicial Court-Single Justice Case Cover Sheet

All case initiating filers must submit a completed Supreme Judicial Court-Single Justice Case Cover Sheet when using eFileMA.com for new Single Justice cases at the SJC. The case cover sheet can be found here. Failure to file the completed case cover sheet will result in the rejection of your filing.

The fillable form is already in PDF format. All fields on the form must be completed.  If a request for information is inapplicable to your case, please enter “N/A.”  If inadequate space is provided for the information requested, please provide the additional information in an attachment. The cover sheet may be signed electronically by the person filing. Once fully completed, simply SAVE the form for upload.  Incomplete cover sheets will not be accepted for filing.

How to file a Supreme Judicial Court-Single Justice Case Cover Sheet

  • Go to the "Filing Code" dropdown. 
  • Under "Filing Code," select “E-Filed Case Cover Sheet” filing code. 
  • Under "Lead Document," click the upload button and upload the Supreme Judicial Court-Single Justice Case Cover Sheet. Upon uploading the PDF, the Case Cover Sheet will appear below "Lead Document."

To the extent that any request for information on the cover is not clear, please refer to the instructions for each section or call the Office of the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for the County of Suffolk at 617-557-1043.

Rules Governing Electronic Filing

Massachusetts E-Filing Rules

The Supreme Judicial Court published the Massachusetts Rules of Electronic Filing (SJC Rule 1:25), effective September 1, 2018 (with amendments effective June 1, 2020), which govern e-filing generally in various courts of the Commonwealth. Participants are expected to be aware of the provisions in these rules before registering for electronic filing.

Attorney Registration for E-Filing through eFileMA.com

To e-file, a user must register with the Court's e-filing vendor at eFileMA.com.  The e-filing vendor has produced short, instructional videos, "Getting Started Training Videos," that walk you through the process of registering your law firm, registering individual user accounts, and setting up payments accounts.

Importantly, registration with eFileMA.com constitutes consent (1) to receive electronic service from attorneys or self-represented parties in all cases and (2) to receive electronic notifications from the Court in lieu of paper notices of the Court's actions, orders, judgments, rescripts, and decisions.

Attorneys with cases pending in the SJC-Single Justice session are encouraged to create this account with eFileMA.com and maintain their name and current email address on the eFileMA.com "Public List."

Massachusetts Attorneys

If you are a Massachusetts attorney, you must either create a new "Firm" account or join an existing Firm account if one already exists. Attorney registrants are required to use their business email address on file with the Board of Bar Overseers. Attorneys should check with their firm to see if a "Firm" account has already been created prior to registering a new "Firm" account. 

Please note that sole practitioner attorneys and attorneys working for non-firm entities, such as in-house counsel for corporations, must still register as a "Firm."

Below are several links that you may find helpful for "Firm" account registration and administration. Click here to access these guides.

Out-of-State Attorneys

Out-of-state attorneys that do not have a Massachusetts BBO number should register for a "Self-Represented" account. This is because registration of a Firm account requires a Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers number.

Electronic Filing in the SJC-Single Justice session

At this time, all SJC-Single Justice case types are eligible for electronic filing through eFileMA.com. This includes the initial filing of a case, as well as all subsequent pleadings. The office of the SJC Single Justice Clerk's Office accepts the electronic filing of most documents, including those that are impounded.

NOTE: Sealed documents of any kind will NOT be accepted electronically. Please file sealed documents manually with the assistant clerk handling your case.

Payment and Waiver of eFiling Vendor Fee

In addition to the statutory filing fees, the Supreme Judicial Court has authorized the e-filing vendor (Tyler Technologies) to charge fees for use of the site.

The vendor fee is a flat rate of $22 per case and is charged only to the plaintiff or petitioner when a case is initiated by e-filing, unless the filing fee has been waived by the court. Regardless of whether a case is initiated by e-filing or by conventional methods, no vendor fee will be charged for any subsequent e-filing made by any party to the case.

You may waive this fee by using a "waiver account" set up as a "payment method" in the eFileMA.com system.  You may use a waiver account when filing with the SJC-Single Justice session if:

  1. You represent the Commonwealth.
  2. You represent a party who was found indigent in the lower court and are filing a motion to waive the entry fee supported by an affidavit of counsel.
  3. You are a self-represented plaintiff or petitioner and are filing an affidavit of indigency.

Use of a waiver account outside the above situations may result in a rejection of your filing.

How to Enter a New SJC-Single Justice Case and Pay the Case Filing Fee Through eFileMA.com

Once all the required filings are prepared for submission, including the mandatory Supreme Judicial Court - Single Justice Case Cover Sheet, be sure all of the supporting documents are in searchable PDF form. These PDF files should be created according to the PDF instructions below and segregated into individual PDF documents.

Case initiating documents should be uploaded and filed in the following order:

  1. Supreme Judicial Court - Single Justice Case Cover Sheet
  2. Motion to Waive Filing Fee and Affidavit of Counsel or Self-Represented Plaintiff’s/Petitioner’s Affidavit of Indigency (if applicable)
  3. Petition/Application/Complaint
  4. Supplemental filings (e.g., Exhibits, Attachments, Record Appendix, Affidavits, Memorandum of Law, etc.)

A party filing a petition, complaint, or application, seeking to have the entire case or any pleadings or attachments impounded, must file a motion to impound in accordance with S.J.C. Rule 1:15.  

(Note: If any of the above documents are IMPOUNDED please see the link below for instructions: Filing an impounded document into an existing case.)

When uploading documents, be sure to use the "Add Another Filing" button to upload the PDF files into a single envelope.  When you file, you will pay the $315 case filing fee through the e-filing system unless you have filed the required documents for a waiver of the case filing fee.  [See How to Waive the Case Filing Fee]

Steps for E-Filing a new SJC-Single Justice Case:

  1. Login to eFileMA.com and select "Start a New Case." 
  2. Complete Case Information.
    1. Under court location, select "Supreme Judicial Court - Single Justice (SJ Docket)". 
    2. Fill in the required case information (Click “Save Changes” Button).
  3. Complete Party Information.
    1. Fill in Plaintiff information (Click “Save Changes” Button).
    2. Fill in Defendant information (Click “Save Changes” Button).
    3. For each additional party, click “Add Another Party” (Click “Save Changes” Button).
  4. Proceed to Filings
    1. File your Supreme Judicial Court - Single Justice Case Cover Sheet
      1. Choose Filing Type: e-file or e-file and serve
      2. Filing code: Miscellaneous document
      3. Fill in required filings fields
      4. Under "Lead Document," upload completed Supreme Judicial Court - Single Justice Case Cover Sheet. (Click “Save Changes” Button)
      5. Next, select the "Add Another Filing" button.
    2. File Motion to Waive Filing Fee and Affidavit of Counsel or Self-Represented Plaintiff’s/Petitioner’s Affidavit of Indigency (if applicable)
      1. If you are an Attorney filing a Motion to Waive the Filing Fee supported by an Affidavit of Counsel
        1. Under "Filing Code," select “Motion to Waive Filing Fee”.
        2. Under "Lead Document," upload a motion to waive the filing fee.  (Upon uploading the PDF, the motion will appear below "Lead Document.") (Click “Save Changes” Button)
        3. Select the “Add Another Filing” button.
        4. Under “Filing Code,” selecting the filing code "Affidavit of Counsel"
        5. Upload the supporting PDF affidavit of counsel. (Click “Save Changes” Button)
      2. If you are a Self-Represented Plaintiff/Petitioner filing an Affidavit of Indigency
        1. Under “Filing Code,” select “Affid Indigency c. 261, s. 27 A-G” filing code.
        2. Under "Lead Document," upload a completed Affidavit of Indigency. (After uploading the PDF, the Affidavit of Indigency will appear below "Lead Document." (Click “Save Changes” Button)
      3. Next, select the "Add Another Filing" button.
    3. File Petition/Application/Complaint
      1. Choose Filing Type: e-file or e-file and serve
      2. Under "Filing Code," select correct filing code for the Petition, Application or Complaint 
      3. Under "Lead Document," upload a PDF petition, application, or complaint (Click “Save Changes” Button)
      4. After uploading the "Lead Document", select the "Add Another Filing" button to add any additional supporting documents.  (Click “Save Changes” Button)

Steps to Pay Case Filing Fee

Once the documents are all submitted, follow the prompts in the Fees section.

  1. Select Payment Account
    1. If you filed either Motion to Waive Filing Fee and Affidavit of Counsel or Self-Represented Plaintiff’s/Petitioner’s Affidavit of Indigency according to 4(b) above, select waiver account If you have not already created a waiver account, read how to create a waiver account
  2. Select Party Responsible for Fees
  3. Select Filing Attorney
  4. Click “Save Changes” Button

Please note that when submitting filings to the court through eFileMA.com, a notification from eFileMA.com will automatically generate and be sent to you, acknowledging the submission. That notification does not mean that the SJC-Single Justice Clerk's Office has accepted your submission. Instead, following the Clerk's Office's review of your submission, you will receive a separate notification from eFileMA.com stating that your filing has been either accepted or rejected (in the latter case, the notification will state the reason for rejection). After acceptance by the Clerk’s Office, you will receive notice of acceptance with an assigned docket number (e.g., SJ-2021-123). Once the case has been entered, you may then file and serve any additional documents by following the instructions for filing into an existing case.

How to E-File Documents Into an Existing SJC-Single Justice Case

  1. Login to eFileMA.com and select "File into Existing Case." 
  2. Complete Case Information.
    1. Under court location, select "Supreme Judicial Court - Single Justice (SJ Docket)". 
    2. Find the case by docket number or party name. Click the "Search" button.
    3. Select the "Actions" arrow at the right-hand side of the correct case, and select "File into Case."
    4. The case and party information will fill in automatically.
  3. Choose Filing Type: e-file or e-file and serve
  4. Select the correct filing code for your document from the dropdown menu and fill in the required fields highlighted in red.
  5. Under "Lead Document," upload the PDF document (Click “Save Changes” Button)
  6. After uploading the "Lead Document", select the "Add Another Filing" button to add any additional supporting documents.  (Click “Save Changes” Button)

Filing an Impounded Document in an Existing Case

To file an impounded document through eFileMA.com, follow the same steps as any other document in an existing case.  Under "Lead Document," click the upload button and upload a PDF.  

You may add additional documents (including public documents) to an envelope that contains an impounded document.  For example, a single envelope may include a public motion, a public memorandum of law and impounded exhibits.

Remember to segregate each of your filings into individual PDF documents. 

In addition to the above, you must also identify any impounded document by marking the cover or first page as impounded.  S.J.C. Rule 1:25, Rule 11(c).  In cases that are not fully impounded, care must be taken not to overly designate documents as impounded.  All confidential information should be redacted wherever possible, or if infeasible, segregated in a separate PDF.  Failure to do so may result in a submission being rejected.  

All documents filed in fully impounded cases will be impounded.

Use eFileMA.com to Serve Other Parties Electronically and Receive E-Service

By registering for eFileMA.com, you have consented to receipt of all SJC-Single Justice notices by email only and the service of all documents e-filed through eFileMA.com by email only.  It is your responsibility to ensure that the court, opposing parties, and eFileMA.com all have your current and correct email address. 

Upon registering for eFileMA.com, you are required to add yourself to the public service list. To do this, use the orange "Actions" dropdown in the upper-right corner, and select either "Firm Service Contacts" if using a firm account, or "Service Contacts" if using an individual account.  Click the "Add Service Contact" button, and fill in your information.  Be sure that the "Make This Contact Public" box is checked, and click "Save Changes."

Serve other parties using e-filing by adding their service contact to a case.  When the system prompts you for service contacts, select "Add From Public List" from the actions dropdown, and search the public list for the attorney or party to receive service. If you have not already done so, you must also add yourself as a service contact to the case at this time to ensure you receive e-service of future e-filings by other parties in that case. If a party is not registered with eFileMA.com, you must then serve the document on that party by conventional methods (that is, in paper form).

PDF Requirements for all Electronic Filings

All documents submitted for e-filing must be in searchable Portable Document Format (PDF). Documents must be submitted as electronically converted PDFs rather than scanned PDFs whenever possible.  Scanned PDFs must be made searchable using an optical-character-recognition software.  Some office copier/scanners can do this automatically by setting them to text mode, or by enabling character recognition.  To make a PDF searchable after scanning, use "Recognize Text" in Adobe Acrobat's "Tools" pane, or use another tool such as FineReader Online or Smart OCR.  Minimize the file size of your PDFs by following these steps.

Documents shall not be locked or otherwise password protected.

Each document submitted for e-filing may contain electronic links, but only to navigate within the same document.  For example, a table of contents may contain a hyperlink to the corresponding page later in the same document.

Each different pleading filed should be a separate PDF.  Do not merge multiple motions and different types of pleadings in a single PDF.  Multiple PDF files may be e-filed in one envelope, even if they are separate pleadings, as long as they relate to the same case and comply with the file size limitations. 

Please follow these specifications for PDFs when e-filing the following types of documents:

  • CASE COVER SHEET – the Supreme Judicial Court - Single Justice Case Cover Sheet shall be saved and filed as a separate PDF.  
  • SINGLE JUSTICE CASE INITIATING DOCUMENTS -- the petition, application or complaint, any appendix or exhibits, and the Supreme Judicial Court - Single Justice Case Cover Sheet shall each be saved and filed as separate PDFs.
  • REQUESTS TO WAIVE THE FILING FEE – any motion to waive the filing fee and supporting affidavit of counsel or a self-represented plaintiff’s/petitioner’s affidavit of indigency shall be saved and filed as a separate PDFs.
  • MEMORANDUM OF LAW – any memorandum of law shall be saved and filed as a separate PDF.
  • MOTIONS -- any motion, supporting affidavit or exhibits shall be saved and filed as separate PDFs.
  • CERTIFICATES OF SERVICE – any certificate of service shall be saved and filed as a separate PDF.

There is no required PDF naming convention for e-filed documents.  However, do not name the PDF using any of the following special characters because it will result in a transmission error with the e-filing system that prevents the Court from accepting the PDF: [ ] @ # $ % ^ & ? \ ? / + = "  : ; , < > { } | 

You must verify the legibility and orientation of all PDF documents before e-filing them.

Filing Size Limits

EFileMA.com imposes size limits on filings.  No individual PDF document may be more than 35 MB in size, and no "envelope" (which can contain multiple PDF documents) may be more than 50 MB in size.

If your PDF files are too large, follow these steps to make them smaller.

No Paper Copy Required

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

What Happens to My Document After I Submit it?

After you file a document, it goes into "Submitted" status, and you will receive a confirmation email.  Next, a staff member of the Clerk's Office will review your document for compliance with these instructions.  Based on this review, your document will either be accepted or rejected.

If your document is accepted, you will receive an email stating that it was accepted.  A copy will also be emailed to anyone you added to the "courtesy copies" field, as well as anyone you selected as a service contact.  Your document will then be docketed in your case.  Note: An accepted filing is not the same as a granted motion; a document being accepted merely means that it is docketed.  It is possible for an e-filed motion to be accepted and then subsequently denied.

If your document is rejected, it is most likely because it did not conform to the formatting or filing rules.  You will receive an email stating the reason why the document was rejected.

Why Was My Document Rejected?

SJC E-Filing Rule 5 allows the Clerk to reject any e-filed document for any technical nonconformance and to allow resubmittal of a conforming document.  The following list is a sample of potential reasons why a document that you attempt to e-file may be rejected:

  • Attempt to enter a new case without filing an original complaint or petition (letters, motions and copies of trial court pleadings insufficient to initiate a new case)
  • Attempt to file a new case without payment of filing fee, an attorney’s motion to waive the filing fee and supporting affidavit, or self-represented plaintiff’s/petitioner’s affidavit of indigency
  • Attempt to file a new case without a Supreme Judicial Court - Single Justice Case Cover Sheet
  • Failure to complete all fields on the Supreme Judicial Court - Single Justice Case Cover Sheet
  • Document not signed with either a scanned, handwritten signature or an electronic signature pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 1:25, Electronic Filing, Rule 13.
  • Improper use of Waiver Account.  Payment required.
  • Filing code selection does not match document.
  • The post-case initiating document is missing a certificate of service.
  • Document is illegible.
  • Documents or pages are out of order, missing, or upside down.
  • Document was filed in wrong case or court.
  • Document attributed to the incorrect party.
  • Failure to redact personal identifying information pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 1:25 (social security numbers, etc.)
  • PDF is corrupt.  Remove embedded fonts.
  • PDF is not searchable using optical character recognition.

Accordingly, prior to submission, it is important to double-check that your submission does not contain one of the deficiencies listed above.  If your submission is rejected, you will receive an email containing the reason.

Courtesy Copies When E-Filing

Courtesy copies are used to provide courtesy notice to clients, other individuals, or courts/agencies as a convenience. Although they can be sent through the E-filing portal they are not intended as service. Odyssey e-filing portal allows you to send courtesy copies to any email address, and the recipient will receive a confirmation of the filing as well as a copy of the document.

Further E-Filing Questions

The eFileMA website has a Self Help area in the lower right-hand corner with links to a variety of useful topics. 

Should you need further technical assistance with efileMA, please call (800) 297-5377.

Should you require further assistance with procedural questions related to e-filing with the SJC - Single Justice Session through efileMA, please call the Office of the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for the County of Suffolk at (617) 557-1043.

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