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Announcement Concerning Electronic Filing Changes

Read about e-filing impounded documents and future e-filing rule changes

Electronic Filing of Impounded Documents (Effective Immediately) 

The Appeals Court is pleased to announce the expanded functionality of its electronic filing program, efileMA.com, to include impounded materials.  Effective immediately, parties can efile into impounded cases, efile impounded documents into partially impounded cases, and can otherwise efile impounded documents, specifically, affidavits of indigency.  Impounded documents must be appropriately labeled as impounded, and upon uploading the PDF on efileMA.com, the filer must adjust the document security tab to reflect it is "Impounded," when appropriate. 

In cases that are not fully impounded, care must be taken not to overly designate documents as impounded.  All confidential information should be redacted wherever possible, or if infeasible, segregated in a separate PDF.  Failure to do so may result in a submission being rejected.  

It will take some time to update our electronic filing website guidance and related materials.  In the meantime, please contact the Clerk's Office if you need additional assistance. 

Mandatory Attorney Electronic Filing and New Filing Deadline (Effective September 1, 2018)

On July 27, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court approved the Appeals Court’s Standing Order Concerning Electronic Filing, which was published for public review and comment in the fall of 2017.  The standing order’s effective date is September 1, 2018.  The key provisions of the standing order are as follows:

  • Every attorney with an appeal pending in the Appeals Court must have an account with
    eFileMA.com.  Registration with eFileMA.com provides the ability to electronically file and constitutes consent to receive electronic notification from the Appeals Court and e-service of documents. 
  • All non-impounded briefs and record appendices in civil panel cases must be e-filed, and other documents may be e-filed.  All non-impounded documents (briefs, record appendices, motions, status reports, etc.) in criminal panel cases must be e-filed.  All non-impounded documents filed in single justice cases must be e-filed.  No paper original or copy of any e-filed document is required. 
  • E-filing by self-represented litigants remains voluntary. 
  • An attorney may file a motion to waive the mandatory e-filing requirement and file on paper upon a showing of undue hardship, significant prejudice, exigency, or other good cause. 
  • There is no requirement to e-file any impounded document.  The standing order permits and the Appeals Court encourages the e-filing of impounded documents.
  • The Appeals Court’s “emotions@appct.state.ma.us” inbox will no longer be utilized.  Docketing statements and filings submitted after panel assignment must be e-filed.  Filers may request a waiver of the Provider convenience fee for these filings using a waiver account.  Amendments to related standing orders have been made in conjunction with the new e-filing processes.

Although the standing order becomes effective on September 1, 2018, the Appeals Court will continue to accept paper filings, as necessary, during a 30-day transition period through September to allow attorneys time to comply with the new standing order. 

Also, S.J.C. Rule 1:25, “Massachusetts Rules of Electronic Filing” becomes effective on September 1, 2018.  This rule replaces the former “Massachusetts Interim Electronic Filing Rules,” and importantly changes the filing deadline for e-filed documents from 4:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.  Beginning on September 4, 2018, any document submitted through the e-filing system by 11:59 p.m. on a business day shall be deemed filed on that date.

The Supreme Judicial Court’s notice of approval and full text of the Appeals Court’s Standing Order Concerning Electronic Filing and Amendments to and Rescission of Related Standing Orders and Orders can be found at this link and S.J.C. Rule 1:25, “Massachusetts Rules of Electronic Filing” can be found at this link.

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