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Rule 6 Motions (to Stay)

A Guide to Filing a Massachusetts Rule of Appellate Procedure 6 Motion to Stay (or Injunction Pending Appeal)

Rule 6 of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure provides for the filing of a motion asking the Appeals Court to temporarily "stay" or halt the execution of a lower court judgment or order pending the outcome of an appeal.

Standing Order Governing Motions to Stay Filed Pursuant to Mass.R.A.P. 6

Except in exigent circumstances, the court expects full compliance with the format and content of the Standing Order Governing Motions to Stay filed Pursuant to Mass.R.A.P. 6. A motion shall contain:

  • a request for stay, which shall state briefly the nature of the judgment or sentence entered by the trial court for which a stay is sought, entry date of the judgment or conviction, and the name of the judge who entered it;
  • the text of the order and rationale of the trial court in denying the motion for stay;
  • a statement of the issues of law raised by the motion;
  • a statement of the specific relief requested; and
  • an addendum containing copies of the judgment, notice of appeal, and the trial court's order denying the prior motion to stay.

References to the parties in the motion shall be by designation of the party in the trial court.

Additionally, the motion shall not exceed five pages of text compliant with Mass.R.A.P. 20 (a) (1)-(3) without permission of the court.

The Standing Order Requires the Movant to Also File:

A supporting memorandum of law not to exceed fifteen pages of text in compliance with Mass.R.A.P. 20 (a)(1)-(3) with citations to appropriate authorities and a statement addressing why a stay is appropriate. 

Attachment of the relevant portions of the lower court record necessary for an adjudication of the issues raised, including the filings of all parties on the issue(s). 

A copy of the lower court docket. If any party has served a motion for reconsideration or intends to serve a motion for reconsideration, that fact must be brought to the court's attention because it is the Appeals Court's practice to stay a decision pending resolution in the trial court of the motion for reconsideration. 

In any case in which the trial court entered an order impounding, sealing, or excluding from public access all or any portion of the trial court records, or there is material or information in a party's motion, addendum, memorandum, or any appendix that is automatically impounded or deemed confidential by statute or court rule, the parties shall comply with Mass.R.A.P. 16(d), 16(m), and 18(g). If the trial court record includes any items listed as "personal identifying data," the parties shall comply with S.J.C. Rule 1:24 in all filings to the Appeals Court. No impounded material may be e-filed at this time.

Rule 6 motions may be e-filed using the eFileMA system. If filing on paper, only the original of the motion, memorandum, and attachments and one copy of each opposition needs to be filed. No additional paper copies are required. 

A certificate of service on all parties in the case, setting forth the name, address, and telephone number of counsel or other party upon whom service has been made shall be filed in the office of the Clerk of the Appeals Court. 

The certificate of service must state the name of the party represented by each counsel and may be personally delivered, sent by first class mail, or sent through the e-filing system if the opposing party is registered or consents.

If the motion is filed on paper, a searchable PDF (portable document format) copy of the motion, and supporting memoranda of law must also be filed, either on a CD-ROM attached to the papers, or by an email, to which the PDF copy is attached, sent to:

A PDF copy of the record appendix (if filed on paper) may be attached or emailed if feasible to produce, and if included, shall commence with a table of contents that lists each document contained therein. 

A draft order may be attached.


An opposition is to be filed within seven days if the respondent was served in hand on the day the motion was filed or within ten days of the filing date if served by mail. The single justice may, and frequently does, shorten or enlarge the time for filing an opposition. 

The opposition memorandum may not exceed fifteen pages of text in compliance with Mass.R.A.P. 20 (a) (1)-(3).

Practice Notes

Prior to filing an opposition, counsel should call the clerk's office to determine whether the single justice requests an opposition. 

Hearings are not routinely granted; therefore, the petition should be complete. If a hearing is scheduled, the single justice will set the date, time, and place for the hearing. Some single justices, in their discretion, will allow the hearing to take place by telephone conference call.


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