|Updates:||Amended October 31, 2018, effective March 1, 2019, 481 Mass. 1601|
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Rules of Appellate Procedure Appellate Procedure Rule 12: Proceedings involving an indigent party
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Table of Contents
(a) Leave to proceed on appeal as an indigent party from lower court to appellate court
Either a lower court or the appellate court or a single justice thereof, for cause shown and after reasonable notice, may authorize an appeal to be prosecuted by an indigent party, upon such reasonable terms as such court or justice may prescribe.
(b) Form of briefs, appendices, and other documents
Parties allowed to proceed as indigent may upon motion and with leave of the appellate court or a single justice thereof, file and serve a reduced number of copies of briefs, appendices, and other documents than otherwise required by these rules.
References to “in forma pauperis” throughout Rule 12 were changed to “indigent party” consistent with the new definition of “indigent party” in Rule 1(c). See 2019 Reporter’s Note to Rule 1(c).
Rule 12(b) was amended to both highlight that a party allowed under Rule 12(a) to proceed as indigent may seek to file a reduced number of copies of briefs, appendices, or other documents, and clarify that leave of court to do so is required. In addition, Rule 12(b) was amended to eliminate the reference to proceeding on the original record without producing an appendix or copies of the record. Proceeding on the original record was similarly stricken from Rule 18(f) and the reasons for the deletion are described in the Reporter’s Notes to Rule 18.
Further organizational and stylistic revisions were made to this rule in 2019 in accordance with a global review and revision of all of the Appellate Rules. These revisions are described in the 2019 Reporter’s Notes to Rule 1.
With regard to the preparation of the 2019 Reporter’s Notes to this Rule, see the first paragraph of the 2019 Reporter’s Notes to Rule 1. For an overview of the 2019 amendments to the Rules and a summary of the global amendments to the Rules, see 2019 Reporter’s Notes to Rule 1, sections I. and II.
Appellate Rule 12 regulates proceedings in forma pauperis, and works no serious change in existing practice. Unlike the cognate F.R.A.P. 24, it allows the justice entertaining the application to proceed in forma pauperis large discretion to tailor the terms of the order to the needs of the case.