Who we serve
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.
Appeals Court Guidelines Regarding Extension of Due Dates and Other COVID-19 Internal Operating Procedures. The Appeals Court has published guidelines that extend to April 21, 2020 deadlines, including briefing deadlines, in the Appeals Court that otherwise would fall between March 17, 2020 and April 20, 2020. The guidelines also describe changes to the Appeals Court's operating procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full text of the guidelines for specifics here.
Appeals Court Order Concerning March Oral Arguments Re: COVID-19: The Appeals Court has ordered all panel and single justice cases scheduled for oral argument during the remainder of March 2020, including those on March 16, 17, 19, and 23, 2020, will be held by telephone. To read the full order, see ORDER CONCERNING MARCH APPEALS COURT ORAL ARGUMENTS RE: COVID-19.
Appeals Court Order Concerning April Oral Arguments Re: COVID-19. In light of public health concerns arising from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the State of Emergency declared by the Governor, it is hereby ordered that all cases scheduled for oral argument during April 2020 shall be deemed submitted on the briefs on file, without any further argument unless otherwise ordered by the Court in a particular case. By the Court (Mark V. Green, Chief Justice)
April Special Sittings Now to Take Place at John Adams Courthouse. UPDATE: The previously scheduled special sitting on April 1, 2020, at the Western New England University School of Law, has been changed. It will now be a regular sitting at the John Adams Courthouse. UPDATE: The previously scheduled special sitting on April 7, 2020, at Suffolk University Law School, has been changed. It will now be a regular sitting at the John Adams Courthouse.
Civil Appeals Clinic - The Volunteers Lawyers Project has suspended the Pro Bono Civil Appeals Clinic until May 6, 2020. The date is subject to change and information will be posted when it is determined the clinic will resume operations.
"The Review" newsletter, Winter 2020. "The Review" is the quarterly newsletter of the Appeals Court. Click here for the latest edition, Winter 2020 (vol. 2, issue 1). Prior issues are also available: Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Summer 2019, and Fall 2019.
Updated Docketing Statements. The docketing statement forms have been updated to include new case natures and to eliminate conversion issues that some filers encountered. Please download and replace these forms in your library for future filings. The forms page is available here.
Expanded Business Hours - Effective Tuesday, September 3, 2019, the Clerk's Office will be open for business from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Register for the Appeals Court Listserv - click here to register for the Appeals Court listserv to receive updates from the Appeals Court and the Appeals Court's quarterly newsletter, The Review.
- 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. The guide is available here.
- Announcement of Greater Access to Oral Argument Recordings - Beginning with appeals argued in January 2019, recordings of oral argument will be available on the appellate courts' website. To read the announcement and learn how to access oral argument recordings online, click here.
- Announcement of New Court Administrator - Chief Justice Mark Green recently announced the selection of Attorney Gina L. DeRossi to serve as the Court Administrator for the Appeals Court. Read the entire press release here.
- Staggered Start Times for Oral Argument - following a successful pilot program, the Appeals Court is pleased to announce staggered start times for oral argument for all panel sittings of the Appeals Court. For more information about what time parties should arrive for oral argument, click here.
- Amicus Briefs - The Appeals Court is currently soliciting amicus briefs. Click here to view amicus invitations.
- Appeals Court Standing Order Concerning Docketing Statements for All Appeals (Civil and Criminal) - Docketing statements must be filed in all cases other than appeals by self-represented inmates. You can download and fill out the forms here (Civil and Criminal).
Key Procedural Information
- 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.
Key Legal Resources
- Appellate Opinion Portal - The Appellate Opinion Portal is maintained by the Office of the Reporter of Decisions and contains links to view both recent decisions and the archives of Massachusetts published opinions and unpublished decisions.
- Appeals Court Rules and Standing Orders
- Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure
- Massachusetts Rules of Electronic Filing