Rule 6 Motions (to Stay)

A Guide to Filing a Massachusetts Rule of Appellate Procedure 6 Motion to Stay (or Injunction Pending Appeal)

Rule 6 of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure provides for the filing of a motion asking the Appeals Court to temporarily "stay" or halt the execution of a lower court judgment or order pending the outcome of an appeal.

Please visit for assistance in preparing certain filings in the Appeals Court, including motions to stay.  The resources on this website are made available by the Suffolk University Law School Legal Innovation and Technology Lab and approved by the Appeals Court.  See also Appeals Court Administrative Order 20-6.

Massachusetts Appeals Court Rule 6.0

Except in exigent circumstances, the court expects full compliance with the format and content of M.A.C. Rule 6.0. A motion shall contain:

  • a request for stay, which shall state briefly the nature of the judgment or sentence entered by the trial court for which a stay is sought, entry date of the judgment or conviction, and the name of the judge who entered it;
  • the text of the order and rationale of the trial court in denying the motion for stay or, if no such motion was filed in the trial court, a showing why filing such a motion in the trial court was not practicable;
  • a statement of the issues of law raised by the motion;
  • a statement of the specific relief requested (a draft order for the single justice may be attached); and
  • an addendum containing copies of the judgment, notice of appeal, and the trial court's order denying the prior motion to stay (including a typed version of any pertinent handwritten or oral endorsement, notation, findings, or order made by the lower court).

References to the parties in the motion shall be by designation of the party in the trial court.

Additionally, the motion shall not exceed five pages of text in monospaced font or 1,000 words in proportional font compliant with Mass.R.A.P. 20 (a)(4)(A)-(C) without permission of the court.

The Rule Requires the Movant to Also File:

A supporting memorandum of law not to exceed fifteen pages of text in monospaced font or 3,500 words in proportional font in compliance with Mass.R.A.P. 20 (a)(4)(A)-(C) with citations to appropriate authorities and a statement addressing why a stay is appropriate. 

Attachment of the relevant portions of the lower court record necessary for an adjudication of the issues raised, including the filings of all parties on the issue(s). 

A copy of the lower court docket. If any party has served a motion for reconsideration or intends to serve a motion for reconsideration, that fact must be brought to the court's attention because it is the Appeals Court's practice to stay a decision pending resolution in the trial court of the motion for reconsideration. 

In any case in which the trial court entered an order impounding, sealing, or excluding from public access all or any portion of the trial court records, or there is material or information in a party's motion, addendum, memorandum, or any appendix that is automatically impounded or deemed confidential by statute or court rule, the parties shall comply with Mass.R.A.P. 16(d), 16(m), and 18(). If the trial court record includes any items listed as "personal identifying data," the parties shall comply with S.J.C. Rule 1:24 in all filings to the Appeals Court.

In criminal cases, the defendant’s board of probation record may be filed in a separate record appendix volume, the cover of which clearly indicates that it includes impounded material.

The motion, memorandum, record appendix, and any subsequently filed opposition and supplemental record appendix, shall be filed electronically if the filing party is represented by counsel. Self-represented litigants may file electronically, or may file a single paper original or duplicate in the office of the Clerk of the Appeals Court. Any document required to be e-filed may be filed on paper upon allowance of a motion to waive the e-filing requirement, preferably filed in advance or with the document. The motion must contain a showing of undue hardship, significant prejudice, exigency, or other good cause.

A certificate of service on all parties in the case, setting forth the name, address, email address, and telephone number of counsel or other party upon whom service has been made shall be filed in the office of the Clerk of the Appeals Court. 

The certificate of service must state the name of the party represented by each counsel and may be personally delivered, sent by first class mail, or sent through if the opposing party is registered or consents.

If a motion and supporting memorandum is produced in a proportional font, a certificate of compliance with the length limit is required and must include the name and size of the font used, the number of non-excluded words, and the name and version of the word-processing program used.


An opposition is to be filed within seven days if the respondent was served in hand on the day the motion was filed or within ten days of the filing date if served by mail. The single justice may, and frequently does, shorten or enlarge the time for filing an opposition. 

The opposition memorandum may not exceed fifteen pages of text in monospaced font or 3,500 words in proportional font in compliance with Mass.R.A.P. 20 (a) (4)(A)-(C).

Practice Notes

Prior to filing an opposition, counsel should call the clerk's office to determine whether the single justice requests an opposition. 

Hearings are not routinely granted; therefore, the petition should be complete. If a hearing is scheduled, the single justice will set the date, time, and place for the hearing. Some single justices, in their discretion, will allow the hearing to take place by telephone conference call.

Contact for Rule 6 Motions (to Stay)


John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Room 1200, Boston, MA 02108

Help Us Improve with your feedback