This guide explains the process for requesting and purchasing copies of Appeals Court case records and oral argument recordings from the Appeals Court. After reviewing this guide, please contact APCRecordsRequest@jud.state.ma.us with any questions.
Guide Purchase or Request a Copy of an Appeals Court Case Record or Oral Argument Recording
Table of Contents
Request Copies of Electronic Case Records
Written Request. Please make the request in writing and include the detail necessary to fulfill the request, including:
- Appeals Court docket number (e.g., 2021-P-1234),
- Case name (e.g., Name v. Name)
- Specific document(s) or recording requested (e.g., paper # 6 on the court's docket, the appellant brief and record appendix, or the oral argument recording),
- A mailing address, and
- An email address (most requests will be fulfilled by email).
The request may be transmitted to the Appeals Court in the following ways:
By Email. Send an email to APCRecordsRequest@jud.state.ma.us. A staff member will respond to you email with information regarding payment and any additional information that is required to fulfill the request.
By Mail. Mail your request to the Appeals Court. Enclose payment by check or money order using the schedule of fees below. If you are unsure of what the applicable fee is, please first contact the Appeals Court by email or phone to verify the fee amount.
In Person. At this time during the COVID-19 pandemic, any non-essential visits to the John Adams Courthouse are strongly discouraged and due to in-person staffing limitations it is unlikely that the court will be able to fulfill document requests in person at this time. Please first contact the court by email or by phone to see if the Clerk's Office can assist you remotely. See generally Appeals Court Administrative Order 20-4.
Form of Transmission. Where possible, the Appeals Court prefers to fulfill requests for copies of case records by email. Please note that depending on the file size of document requested it may not be possible for the court to email a particular document, or multiple emails may be necessary. If the court cannot email a document, ordinarily it must be mailed on a CD. A $4 surcharge for the mailing of the CD applies and is in addition to the cost for copies of case records. For more detail, see the fee schedule below. On a case-by-case basis, the Appeals Court may make certain larger documents available electronically through the court's ShareFile system. Please inquire by email or phone to see if this is possible for your request.
Request Copy of Oral Argument Recording
Free Access to Oral Argument Recordings Online. Before requesting a copy of an oral argument recording, please be advised that if the oral argument took place after Jan. 1, 2019, the oral argument is available for listening and download at no charge at ma-appellatecourts.org. Arguments are posted within 72 hours of completion.
To access oral argument recordings online, follow these instructions:
- Go to ma-appellatecourts.org.
- Search for the appeal by party name or Appeals Court docket number
- Scroll down to the box labeled "ORAL ARGUMENTS"
- Press the play button on the left side of the embedded mp3 player.
- To download the argument, click the three vertical dots on the right side of the embedded mp3 player. Then click download. A MP3 file will be downloaded and can be played on your personal electronic device or burned to a CD.
YouTube Archive. During the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning in April 2020, the Appeals Court has performed oral arguments on the Zoom videoconference platform and live streamed them via the Appeals Court's YouTube channel. At this time, you may observe or hear the arguments live or in the archive on the YouTube channel. You can check the date of the argument, the session number on ma-appellatecourts.org.
Purchase an Oral Argument Recording. If you remain interested in purchasing a CD of an oral argument for $50.50, you may do so online and pay by credit card by clicking on this link and following the instructions. Alternatively, you may mail a written request for a copy of an oral argument recording to the Appeals Court Clerk's Office.
PURCHASE CD OF ORAL ARGUMENT ONLINE: CLICK HERE.
Note About Pre-March 1, 2005 Oral Arguments: The only recordings available for purchase are of oral arguments conducted by a panel or single justice of the Appeals Court on or after March 1, 2005.
Arguments Held Outside the John Adams Courthouse: If the argument was held at a location outside the John Adams Courthouse, then it is possible the argument was not recorded. Before you purchase a recording, please determine the location of the argument by reviewing the docket online. If the argument was not held at the John Adams Courthouse, please call the Clerk's Office at (617) 723-1516 to verify that a recording exists.
The fees applicable to requests for copies for case records and oral argument recordings are as follows:
|Computer print out (per page)||$0.05||Administrative Office of the Trial Court Uniform Schedule of Fees - G. L. c. 262, § 4B.|
|PDF or other electronic document (per document)||$5.00||Administrative Office of the Trial Court Uniform Schedule of Fees - G. L. c. 262, § 4B.|
|Additional fee to send a CD of electronic document(s) by U.S. Mail||$4.00||Administrative Office of the Trial Court Uniform Schedule of Fees - G. L. c. 262, § 4B.|
|CD-ROM of Oral Argument (see below)||$50.50||Administrative Office of the Trial Court Uniform Schedule of Fees - G. L. c. 262, § 4B.|
The Appeals Court will accept cash, check, money order, or credit card payments in person at the counter in the Clerk's Office. Any check or money order shall be made payable to the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts" or "Massachusetts Appeals Court." Payments by check or money order may also be mailed to: Appeals Court Clerk's Office, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Suite 1200, Boston, MA 02108. You may request that any PDF or other electronic document which is below 10 MB be emailed to an address that you specify. DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, PAYMENT BY CHECK OR MONEY ORDER THROUGH THE MAIL (OR PAYMENT FOR AN ORAL ARGUMENT RECORDING BY CREDIT CARD ONLINE) ARE THE PREFERRED PAYMENT METHODS TO PROTECT PUBLIC SAFETY.
For additional information about Appeals Court fees, click here.
Waiver of Fees
If you are requesting a copy of a case record or oral argument recording and requesting that the associated fee be waived, please make the request following the same steps described above. In lieu of payment, please provide supporting documentation (e.g., affidavit of indigenct, NAC form) in support of your your request for waiver. The court will review your submission and provide the requested items or follow up with you if additional information is required.
Impounded Case Records
Impounded case records will only be made available to a party or attorney who has entered an appearance in a case. The Clerk must verify the requester’s identity and participation in the case before permitting access to any impounded case record. If you are an attorney contacting the court by email regarding an impounded record, please use the email address on file with the Court and BBO.
Pre-2000 Case Records
Most Appeals Court case records from before approximately 2000 were preserved on microfiche and may be requested as PDF. Please note that this may take extra time due to the pandemic remote operations.
The Appeals Court historically did not retain single justice filings or the record appendix in panel cases. Items constituting the lower court record may be requested directly from the lower court where the case originated.