New: First en banc rehearing under court's pilot program
In April 2023, the Appeals Court held its first-ever en banc rehearing, pursuant to the court's pilot program that, beginning in late 2022, temporarily replaced its protocol under Sciaba Constr. Corp. v. Boston, 35 Mass. App. Ct. 181, 181 n.2 (1993). The en banc rehearing was livestreamed to the court's YouTube channel and can be viewed here. (The case is 2022-P-0300, Ferreira v. Charland.)
Under the pilot, draft published and rescript opinions are circulated to the justices for review, after which any justice may call for a vote by the justices on whether to grant en banc review. En banc review is granted only upon a majority vote of the justices on the basis that (1) the draft panel decision would conflict with a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Judicial Court, or the Appeals Court and en banc review is necessary to maintain the uniformity of the court's decisions; or (2) the proceeding involves one or more questions of "exceptional importance."
If a majority of the justices vote in favor of en banc review, the parties are notified of the en banc rehearing date, the amount of time allotted for argument, and whether they are to submit supplemental briefs. The court may also solicit amicus briefs.
No party may request en banc review; such requests are not accepted.
En banc oral argument is conducted by remote videoconference platform (Zoom) and streamed for public access on the Appeals Court’s YouTube channel.
Policy on Motions for Remote Oral Argument in Panel Cases
Effective September 9, 2022, the Appeals Court has adopted a Policy Regarding Motions for Remote Oral Argument in Panel Cases. Please click the preceding link to view or download the policy.
Virtual Appellate Clerk
Since January 2022, the Appeals Court Clerk’s Office has provided a virtual help center where court personnel are available to answer questions, help court users virtually, and provide information about available resources. Court users can receive “face-to-face” help from court staff without being physically present at the courthouse. Guidance is limited to Appeals Court matters and is conducted by videoconference on Zoom. Appeals Court personnel are available to answer general and procedural questions, but they do not provide legal advice.
The “Virtual Appellate Clerk” is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Interested persons may click on this Zoom link to join the waiting room from which court personnel will admit users in the order they enter the waiting room. You may also contact the Appeals Court Clerk’s Office by telephone at (617) 921-4443, Mondays through Fridays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding legal holidays.
Social media links
About the Appeals Court
The Appeals Court is the Commonwealth's intermediate appellate court. The Appeals Court is a court of general appellate jurisdiction, which means that the justices review decisions that the trial judges from the several Departments of the Trial Court have already made in many different kinds of cases. The Appeals Court also has jurisdiction over appeals from final decisions of three State agencies: the Appellate Tax Board, the Industrial Accident Board and the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board. The Appeals Court consists of a chief justice and twenty-four associate justices.
Notice to Self-Represented Filers and Visitors to the Court
The Clerk’s Office is open to the public for telephonic, electronic, and in-person business. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Clerk’s Office continues to endeavor to conduct business virtually to the extent possible. Before making an in-person visit to the Clerk's Office, please call the office at (617) 921-4443 to learn how you can be assisted virtually. The Clerk's Office staff will make every effort to provide assistance (including accepting filings and fulfilling records requests) in a manner that eliminates the need for persons to visit the John Adams Courthouse. All visitors to the John Adams Courthouse must comply with any orders of the Supreme Judicial Court regarding health and safety protocols regarding public access to state courthouses and court facilities.
Appeals Court Help Center
Visit the Appeals Court Help Center for a collection of guides, informational pages, and other resources providing information about how the appeals process works.
Appeals Court Frequent Appellate Process Questions
Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about the appeals process.
Electronic Filing at the Appeals Court
See this page for instructions, guidance, and updates regarding electronic filing at the Appeals Court.
Additional Information and Announcements
Clerk's Guide to Electronic Briefs
The Appeals Court has posted a new Clerk's Guide to Electronic Briefs with step by step instructions and illustrations for how to assemble an electronic PDF brief and record appendix for submission through the Appeals Court's eFileMA system.
Appeals Court Summary Process (Eviction) Educational & Help Materials
Find new resources for tenants and landlords regarding summary process/eviction appeals.
Guide to Creating PDFs with Bookmarks and Internal Links
Although not required, the Appeals Court encourages all e-filed briefs and record appendices to contain bookmarks and internal links. The Appeals Court has posted a guide that explains the benefits of these features and how to add them to a brief and record appendix.
Important Information About Unemployment Benefits
If you are appealing your unemployment benefits decision, please see Appeal your unemployment benefits decision for information about how to request and proceed with an appeal, and for contact information for the Department of Unemployment Assistance Hearings Department and Board of Review. Please note that the Massachusetts Appeals Court does not have direct appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the Department of Unemployment Assistance.
"The Review" newsletter
The Review is the quarterly newsletter of the Appeals Court. Click the link above for the page containing each edition.
Register for the Appeals Court Listserv
Register for the Appeals Court listserv to receive updates from the Appeals Court and the Appeals Court's quarterly newsletter, The Review.
The Appeals Court is currently soliciting amicus briefs. Click the link above to view amicus invitations.