New: En Banc Pilot Program
The Appeals Court is initiating an en banc pilot program that would temporarily replace the court’s current protocol under Sciaba Constr. Corp. v. Boston, 35 Mass. App. Ct. 181, 181 n.2 (1993), for the duration of the pilot.
Under the pilot program, all draft published opinions and rescript opinions will continue to be circulated internally to the justices for their review. Based on that review, a justice may call for a vote by the justices on whether to grant en banc review. En banc review will be 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 will be notified of the en banc re-hearing date, and the amount of time that will be allotted for argument. The court will also notify the parties whether they are to submit supplemental briefing. The court may also solicit amicus briefs.
No party may request en banc review. Requests for en banc review by parties will not be accepted.
The en banc oral argument will be conducted by remote videoconference platform (Zoom) and livestreamed 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.
New: Virtual Appellate Clerk
Beginning January 4, 2022, the Appeals Court Clerk’s Office will provide 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” will be 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.
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.