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Rules of Appellate Procedure

Rules of Appellate Procedure Appellate Procedure Rule 17: Brief of an amicus curiae

Effective Date: 01/01/1998
Updates: Amended October 30, 1997, effective January 1, 1998


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Rule 17

A brief of an amicus curiae may be filed only (1) by leave of the appellate court or a single justice granted on motion or (2) at the request of the appellate court, except that consent or leave shall not be required when the brief is presented by the Commonwealth. The brief may be conditionally filed with the motion for leave. A motion for leave shall identify the interest of the applicant and shall state the reasons why a brief of an amicus curiae is desirable. Any amicus curiae shall file its brief within the time allowed the party whose position as to affirmance or reversal the amicus brief will support unless the appellate court or a single justice for cause shown shall grant leave for later filing, and shall specify within what period an opposing party may answer. A motion of an amicus curiae to participate in the oral argument will be granted only for extraordinary reasons. The same number of copies of the brief of an amicus curiae shall be filed with the clerk and served on counsel for each party separately represented as required by Rule 19(b).

Reporter's notes

(1997) The 1997 amendment to Appellate Rule 17 added a new last sentence requiring that the number of copies of an amicus brief to be filed with the appellate court and served on counsel be the same as set forth in Appellate Rule 19(b).

(1979) Rule 17 is unchanged, its provisions having been incorporated into criminal appellate procedure by former Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court Rules 1:15 (1975: 3 Mass.App.Ct. 803, 366 Mass. 861).

(1973) No existing rule governs briefs of an amicus curiae. Appellate Rule 17, limiting the right to file such a brief to an amicus who has obtained leave of the full appellate court or a single justice on motion, follows existing practice. It should be noted that the Commonwealth need never obtain leave to file an amicus brief.



Updates: Amended October 30, 1997, effective January 1, 1998


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