Direct Appellate Review

A guide to seeking direct appellate review.

After an appeal has been docketed in the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court may grant a party's application for direct appellate review (DAR) where the questions presented by the appeal are:

  1. questions of first impression or novel questions of law which should be submitted for final determination to the Supreme Judicial Court;
  2. questions of law concerning the Constitution of the Commonwealth or questions concerning the Constitution of the United States which have been raised in a court of the Commonwealth; or
  3. questions of such public interest that justice requires a final determination by the full Supreme Judicial Court.

Applications for direct appellate review are governed by the provisions of Rule 11 of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure.

The DAR application should be filed in the Supreme Judicial Court within 21 days of the docketing of the appeal.  There is no fee required to file a DAR application.  No copy is filed in the Appeals Court.  The Appeals Court receives automatic notification of the application from the Supreme Judicial Court when a DAR docket number is assigned.  

Requirements for the contents of the application, including no more than ten pages of argument, are set forth at Rule 11(b).

A response may be filed, within ten days, limited to ten pages, Rule 11(c).  The covers of the application and response should be white, Rule 20(b) and other requirements as to form are also covered in that Rule.  

If the application is allowed, the time for serving and filing briefs is set forth at Rule 11(g).

 

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