Appellate Process

Pro Se Kit

This pro se kit is being sent to you in response to your recent request. It contains the following items:

  1. This cover letter
  2. Appellate Division Practice Checklist
  3. Instructions for filling out forms in the Appellate Division
  4. Notice of Appeal form
  5. Prescribed Transcript Request form
  6. Civil Case Information Statement form
  7. Criminal Case Information Statement form
  8. Notice of Motion form
  9. Certified Statement in Support of Motion for Leave to Proceed as an Indigent form.

The Appellate Division may not take any action in a case until it has obtained jurisdiction in the matter. With few exceptions, the Appellate Division does not have jurisdiction unless a notice of appeal or a motion for leave to appeal has been filed. Instructions for filing either a notice of appeal or a motion for leave to appeal can be found in the enclosed material and in the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey. Before you begin completing the enclosed forms, please carefully read this letter and the material enclosed. We suggest that when reviewing the Appellate Division Practice Checklist, you note especially the time limits for serving and filing documents and how these time limits apply to your case. While this pro se kit is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to practice and procedures in the Appellate Division, you should find the information and forms contained herein helpful in the preparation of the documents that you will need in order to proceed with an appeal.

You may want to consider obtaining the assistance of an attorney, since an appeal can be a complex legal proceeding. Even if you find that completing the enclosed forms is not a difficult task, you should be aware that the level of assistance that the Clerk's office has provided to you through these detailed instructions does not continue throughout the course of your appeal. The Clerk's office cannot assist you with the legal research that you will probably need before you can begin writing your appellate brief; nor assist you with assembling the documents that you will need for the appendix; nor assist you with drafting your procedural history, statement of facts, and legal arguments that will be required in your appellate brief.

The assistance of the Clerk's office, to attorneys and to pro se litigants alike, is limited to procedural matters, i.e., information concerning Appellate Division Court Rules and practice and procedure. This office cannot provide any assistance or legal advice as to the issues, arguments or merits of an appeal. If you cannot afford to pay for an attorney in a civil matter, you might be able to obtain legal assistance from the Legal Aid office in your county. If your appeal is from a criminal conviction after a trial or guilty plea in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, and you cannot afford an attorney, you should contact the Appellate Section of the Office of the Public Defender of the State of New Jersey at 973-877-1200.

You may also make a motion for assignment of counsel, which is discussed below. Please be advised that Court Rule 1:21-1(c) provides that a business entity, other than a sole proprietor, cannot file any papers in the Appellate Division except through an attorney authorized to practice in New Jersey. A final judgment, order or decision is one which decides all issues as to all parties. In such instances, an appeal may be filed as of right by the filing of a notice of appeal and appropriate accompanying documents.

If, on the other hand, all issues as to all parties are not decided in the case and you wish to proceed with an appeal, you must request permission from the Appellate Division by way of a motion. This type of case is brought before the Appellate Division by filing a motion for leave to appeal and appropriate accompanying documents. These are known as interlocutory appeals. The distinction between appeals as of right from final judgments, orders and decisions and motions for leave to appeal from judgments, orders and decisions that are not final is discussed more fully in the Appellate Division Practice Checklist.

A $250.00 filing fee is required when filing a notice of appeal, and a $50.00 filing fee is required when filing a motion for leave to appeal. Once an appellant has paid the filing fee, there is no fee required for filing a motion while the appeal is open. Please note, however, that any motion made after a case is closed must be accompanied by a $50.00 filing fee. If an individual was granted indigency status in the trial court proceedings, that status can continue in the Appellate Division for the waiver of filing fees if a copy of the order is submitted along with "an affidavit stating that there has been no substantial change in the petitioner's financial circumstances since the date of the entry of the order granting such relief." Court Rule 2:7-4.

This indigency status would apply only to filing fees, unless the order specifically directs free transcripts on appeal to the Appellate Division. If an individual has not been granted indigency status and cannot afford the filing fees, a motion to proceed as an indigent should be submitted. There is no filing fee for this motion or any other motion accompanying this motion. All motions to proceed as an indigent should include an original and four copies of a notice of motion and the enclosed certified statement in support of the motion. Additionally, five copies of the trial court judgment or order or agency decision being appealed should be submitted.

In addition, if you are appealing a final judgment, order or decision, a deposit for transcripts in the amount of $300 for each day or fraction of a day of trial or hearing is to be paid, pursuant to Court Rule 2:5-3. This fee is paid to the court reporter who was present at the proceedings in question or, in the case of sound recorded proceedings, to the clerk of the court or agency in which those proceedings took place. If you cannot afford this deposit, a motion for free transcripts may be filed either in the trial court or in the Appellate Division. If filed in the trial court, a copy of the motion papers should be submitted with the appeal you are filing here. If the motion for free transcripts is filed in the Appellate Division, the motion must conform to Court Rule 2:8-1. While the Court's determination whether to grant free transcripts is distinct from its determination on a motion for leave to proceed as an indigent, a certification setting forth the individual's financial status, income and any property owned should likewise accompany any motion for free transcripts.

A motion for free transcripts should be served upon the party (or office) that may be required to pay for the transcript in question. In civil appeals, non-indictable or quasi-criminal appeals, this generally means the county counsel for the county out of which the matter arises must be served with the motion. In indictable criminal appeals, the Office of the Public Defender, Appellate Section, 31 Clinton Street, P.O. Box 46003, Newark, New Jersey 07101, should be served with the motion. If you desire representation by counsel in the appeal, you may make a motion for assignment of counsel, which may be submitted in conjunction with any or all of the above motions. Please be aware, however, that if the matter is civil in nature, the Court does not usually grant free transcripts or assignment of counsel.

Note too, that the motions discussed herein are filed pursuant to Court Rule 2:8-1, and should be filed simultaneously with your notice of appeal or motion for leave to appeal. In closing, although we have provided you with an Appellate Division Practice Checklist, please bear in mind that during the course of your appeal, it will very likely become necessary for you to consult the full text of the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey and the cases construing the Court Rules. Copies of the Court Rules are available in the State Library in Trenton, in the law libraries in the county courthouses, and at some county and municipal public libraries throughout the State. If, after consulting the materials provided in this pro se kit and the Court Rules, you still have questions concerning Appellate Division practice and procedure, you may contact this office for assistance.


Joseph H. Orlando, Clerk of the Appellate Court

Instructions for Filling Out Forms in the Appellate Division

The purpose of the following instructions is to indicate what is to be entered in each section of various forms used in the Appellate Division and what documents must accompany the forms. Enclosed are copies of the forms with each section numbered. That number corresponds with the number under the instructions for filling out that specific form. Please print or type the information on the forms which are enclosed.

Table of Contents


Notice of Appeal Form, Side One

  1. Enter the complete caption or title of the case exactly as it appears on the papers from the trial court or State agency from which you are appealing.
  2. Enter your name, address, including any email address, and daytime telephone number. If you are not an attorney at law admitted to practice in the State of New Jersey, you may not represent any person other than yourself.
  3. Enter the name of the judge whose judgment or order you are appealing.
  4. Enter the name of the trial court from which this case originates (for example, "Superior Court, Law Division, Essex County", or "Superior Court, Family Part, Mercer County", or "Tax Court"). If the appeal is from a final decision of a State agency, enter the name of the agency.
  5. In civil cases, enter the trial court docket number. In criminal cases, enter the complaint, accusation or indictment number(s). If a municipal appeal, enter the Law Division docket number. In agency matters, enter the number assigned by the agency.
  6. Enter your name.
  7. Check the appropriate box or boxes. Enter the date of the judgment, order or agency decision appealed from.
  8. If you are appealing the entire judgment, order or agency decision, leave this space blank. If appealing only a part or several parts, specify in this space.
  9. If all issues as to all parties are disposed of in this action in the trial court or agency, check "Yes". If all issues as to all parties are not disposed of, check "No". If you check "No", you should not be filing a notice of appeal, but rather a motion for leave to appeal, unless the answer to the next question, whether there is a certification of final judgment entered pursuant to Court Rule4:42-2, is "Yes".
  10. Only complete this section if the case is criminal, quasi criminal or juvenile action.
    1. Give a concise statement of the offense and the judgment including the date entered and any sentence or disposition imposed.
    2. Check the appropriate box indicating what the appeal is from. If from a post-conviction relief, indicate if it is a 1st, 2nd or other.
    3. Indicate whether you are incarcerated and if bail or a stay was granted. If in custody, enter the name and full address of the facility or institution at which you are confined. Be sure to include any inmate identification number assigned to you.
    4. Check the appropriate box indicating who represented you below.
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    Notice of Appeal Form, Side Two

  11. Pursuant to Court Rule 2:5-1, a notice of appeal must be served upon a number of individuals. Enter the names, date of service and other information requested. Pursuant to Court Rule 1:5-2, service may be made by personal delivery of the papers, by ordinary mail or by certified or registered mail return receipt requested.
  12. As discussed elsewhere in this pro se kit, the transcript of the proceedings of the trial court or state agency from which you are appealing must be ordered. As appellant, you must order the transcript and complete this section of the notice of appeal. Enter the names of the persons on whom you served the court transcript request form(s), the date of service and the amount of deposit paid.
  13. You need not order nor pay a deposit for the transcript at the time of filing the notice of appeal if any of the conditions enumerated in this section apply. If applicable, check the appropriate box. If none of the four statements in this section applies to your case, you should leave this section blank.
    • No Verbatim Record
      This means that during the proceedings in the trial court or agency from which you are appealing, there was no court reporter present, no tape recorder that was sound recording, nor any other verbatim record of the proceedings being made.
    • Transcript in Possession of Attorney or Pro Se Litigant
      This means that either you or an attorney representing another party have already obtained the transcript. In these instances, it will not have to be reordered as a new transcript. As you are the appellant, however, it will be your responsibility to have sufficient copies made of the transcript for filing and service. If the transcript is in the possession of another person, you will be responsible for making arrangements to obtain it from that person, or obtain a copy from the person who produced the transcript. List the date(s) of the trial or hearing.
    • Motion for Abbreviation of Transcript Filed with the Court or Agency Below
      In lieu of a transcript of the entire proceedings in the trial court or agency, the transcript may be abbreviated by either the consent of all parties or by a motion to the trial court or agency. See the Appellate Division Practice Checklist and Court Rule2:5-3(c) for more information. If you have filed a motion for abbreviation of the transcript, a copy of that motion must be attached to your notice of appeal. As the person who filed the motion with the trial court or agency, it is your responsibility to keep the Clerk's office informed as to the status of that motion and to obtain a copy of the decision deciding same.
    • Motion for Free Transcript Filed with the Court Below
      If you have filed a motion for free transcript with the trial court, a copy of that motion must be attached to your notice of appeal. As the person who filed the motion with the trial court, it is your responsibility to keep the Clerk's office informed as to the status of that motion and to obtain a copy of the order deciding same. Please refer to the cover letter of this pro se kit and the Appellate Division Practice Checklist for more information.
  14. Enter the date on the line.
  15. Sign your name on the line.

Necessary Attachments to the Notice of Appeal

The notice of appeal that you mail or deliver to the Clerk's office for filing, and which you serve on the other parties and individuals, must have a transcript request form and a case information statement attached.

  1. Transcript Request Form(s). One copy of a transcript request form for each individual court reporter must be attached to your notice of appeal. In the case of sound recording, one copy of the transcript request form to the clerk of the trial court or agency from which this appeal is being taken must be attached to your notice of appeal. The check in payment of the deposit is not mailed to the Clerk's office, but is to be sent by you to the court reporter or, in the case of sound recording, to the clerk of the trial court or agency. If, as discussed elsewhere in this pro se kit, you can not afford the transcript, your notice of appeal should be accompanied by a copy of the motion for free transcript you filed in the trial court, or by a copy of the motion for abbreviation of transcript filed in the trial court or agency. If you are filing a motion for free transcript in the Appellate Division, you must include with your notice of appeal an original and four copies of your motion, made pursuant to Court Rule 2:8-1.
  2. Case Information Statement. If your case is a civil matter, you must complete and sign a civil case information statement. If criminal, quasi-criminal or juvenile action, you must complete and sign a criminal case information statement. A copy of the judgment or order of the trial court or decision of the State agency, which is the subject of the appeal, should be attached to your case information statement.

Court Transcript Request Form

  1. Enter the caption or title of the case as it appears on the papers from the trial court from which you are appealing.
  2. In civil cases, enter the trial court docket number. In criminal cases, enter the complaint, accusation or indictment number(s). If a municipal appeal, enter the Law Division docket number.
  3. Enter the county and the name of the trial court from which you are appealing.
  4. Enter your name, address, including any email address, and daytime phone number.
  5. Enter the name and address of the court reporter, if a court reporter was present in court transcribing the proceedings. If the proceedings were sound recorded, enter the name and address of the court clerk of the trial judge. If you do not know the name of the court reporter, call the county courthouse and ask to be connected to the office of the supervisor of court reporters for that county. Likewise, if you do not know the name of the court clerk, call the trial judge's chambers and ask for that. Be sure to ask for the mailing address of either the court reporter or court clerk, and enter that on the court transcript request.
  6. Since you are filing an appeal, check the box which indicates use on "appeal". Enter the number of copies you are asking to be produced. The minimum number you can request is an original and one copy.
  7. Enter the date(s) of the proceeding(s) you are ordering.
  8. Enter the type of proceeding(s) (for example, trial, sentencing, motion, etc.)
  9. Enter the name of the trial judge who heard each proceeding.
  10. Sign your name and enter the date.
  11. Enter the amount of the deposit. The original of the court transcript request and a check for the deposit are sent to the court reporter or, in the case of a proceeding that was sound recorded, to the court clerk of the trial judge.
  12. Enter the appropriate names on lines 2 and 4.

Civil Case Information Statement Form

  1. Enter the caption or title of the case as it appears on the papers from the trial court or State agency from which you are appealing.
  2. Enter the number assigned the case by the trial court or agency from which you are appealing.
  3. Check the appropriate box indicating if you were the “Plaintiff”, “Defendant”, or “Other” below. As you are representing yourself pro se, enter your own name, address, including any email address, and daytime telephone number. If you are not an attorney at law admitted to practice in the State of New Jersey, the only "CLIENT" whom you can represent is yourself.
  4. Enter the names, addresses, including any email addresses, and telephone numbers of the attorneys who represented the other parties in the trial court or agency and the names of their clients.
  5. Briefly summarize the terms of the judgment, order or decision which is the subject of this appeal, including its date, and attach a copy.
  6. Answer whether there are any claims against any party below which have not been disposed of. If the answer is "No", then you may properly proceed with the filing of a notice of appeal. If the answer is "Yes", then you should immediately move for leave to appeal unless the trial court has certified the determination as final pursuant to Court Rule 4:42-2. If the determination does not disposes of all the claims as to all parties, and the trial court has not certified it as final pursuant to Court Rule 4:42-2, then leave to appeal must be sought.
  7. Check the appropriate box.
  8. Briefly summarize the facts and the procedural history of the case.
  9. List the issues which you plan to raise in your appeal.
  10. If applicable, answer whether the trial judge issued oral or written findings or an opinion and, if so, set forth on what date.
  11. Answer whether you or anyone you know of has an appeal that is pending or about to be brought before this court which involves substantially the same case as your appeal. If you cannot answer "Yes" or "No", you may answer "Unknown".
  12. Answer whether you know of any other appeal that is pending or about to be brought before this court which involves an issue similar to or related to an issue in your appeal. If you do not have this information available and cannot answer "Yes" or "No", you may answer "Unknown".
  13. Answer whether there was a prior appeal in this court involving this same case or controversy.
  14. List the case name and Appellate Division docket number for any appeal indicated in 11, 12 or 13 above.
  15. Check the appropriate box as to whether you think the case may benefit from a Civil Appeals Settlement Program conference and explain your answer.
  16. Enter your name on the line.
  17. Enter your name on the line as you are representing yourself pro se.
  18. Enter the date on the line.
  19. Sign your name on the line.

Criminal Case Information Statement Form

  1. Enter the caption or title of the case as it appears on the papers from the trial court from which you are appealing.
  2. Enter the number assigned the case by the trial court from which you are appealing.
  3. As you are representing yourself pro se, enter your own name, address, including any email address, and daytime telephone number. If you are not an attorney at law admitted to practice in the State of New Jersey, the only "CLIENT" whom you can represent is yourself.
  4. Enter the name, address, including any email address, and telephone number of the county prosecutor's office which represented the State of New Jersey in the trial court and/or where appropriate, the name, address and telephone number of the Office of the Attorney General. See Court Rule 2:5-1 as to adult criminal and juvenile matters. The "CLIENT" is the State of New Jersey.
  5. Briefly summarize the terms of the judgment or order which is the subject of this appeal, including its date, and attach a copy.
  6. Answer whether there are any issues below involving you which have not been disposed of. If the answer is "No", then you may properly proceed with the filing of a notice of appeal. If the answer is "Yes", then you should immediately move for leave to appeal.
  7. Check the appropriate box.
  8. Answer whether you are presently confined or on bail. Set forth any SBI number and your date of birth.
  9. Answer whether the issue(s) involve only whether the trial court imposed a proper sentence.
  10. Answer whether there are any co-defendants and, if so, set forth their names and whether they were tried with you or shared any pretrial motion. (If the co-defendants are juveniles who were not waived up to the Law Division, use only their initials.)
  11. Briefly summarize the facts and the procedural history of the case.
  12. List the issues which you plan to raise in your appeal.
  13. If applicable, answer whether the trial judge issued oral or written findings or an opinion and, if so, set forth on what date.
  14. Answer whether you or a co-defendant has an appeal that is pending or about to be brought before this court which involves substantially the same case as your appeal. If you cannot answer "Yes" or "No", you may answer "Unknown".
  15. Answer whether you know of any other appeal that is pending or about to be brought before this court which involves an issue similar to or related to an issue in your appeal. If you do not have this information available and cannot answer "Yes" or "No", you may answer "Unknown".
  16. Answer whether there was a prior appeal in this court involving this same case or controversy.
  17. List the case name, type and Appellate Division docket number for any appeal indicated in 14, 15 or 16 above.
  18. Enter your name on the line.
  19. Enter your name on the line as you are representing yourself pro se.
  20. Enter the date on the line.
  21. Sign your name on the line.

Notice of Motion Form

Should you need to file a motion, we suggest that you use this as a guide in completing the notice of motion form. Enclosed is a copy of the form with each section numbered. That number corresponds with the number under the following instructions for filling out that specific form. Please print or type the information on the form which is enclosed.

  1. Enter your name, address and daytime telephone number. Indicate whether you are the appellant or respondent.
  2. Enter the Appellate Division docket number of the appeal. If you are filing the motion simultaneously with your notice of appeal, or if you are filing a motion for leave to appeal, you will not yet have an Appellate Division docket number. In that event, leave the line blank, and in the space below enter the number assigned the case by the trial court or agency from which you are appealing.
  3. Enter the caption or title of the case exactly as it appeared on the papers from the trial court or agency from which you are appealing.
  4. Enter the specific relief your are requesting, in just a few words such as "STAY PENDING APPEAL".
  5. Enter the name and address of the other party's attorney or, if more than one other party, the names and addresses of all the attorneys. If a party is not represented by an attorney, list the party's and address.
  6. Enter the specific relief you are requesting, such as "staying the trial court judgment of May 28, 1995 pending disposition of the appeal."
  7. Pursuant to Court Rule 2:8-1, every motion shall be supported by a brief. The brief should set forth the nature of the action, the relevant facts, and the legal arguments and reasons why the relief you are requesting should be granted.
  8. Enter the date on the line.
  9. Sign (do not print or type) your name on the line.
  10. Type or print your name on the line.
  11. Repeat the same information here that you provided in 5, above.
  12. Enter the date on the line.
  13. Sign (do not print or type) your name on the line.
  14. Type or print your name on the line.

Certified Statement in Support of Motion for Leave to Proceed as an Inidgent Form

If you are requesting to proceed as an indigent, this form should be completed and submitted with a notice of motion. Do not leave any lines on the form blank or simply draw a line through, or put an "X" on, any line. If any category does not apply to you, you should enter "None" on the line. Attach additional sheets as needed to fully answer each question.

  1. Enter your name, daytime telephone number, current address, date of birth and number of dependents.
  2. Enter the name and complete address of your present employer, the title or description of your position and your salary per month.
  3. Enter the source and monthly amount of any additional income of any kind.
  4. Enter all checking, savings and other bank accounts of any kind, the present balance of each and the name and address of the financial institution(s).
  5. Enter the address, present market value and equity of any real estate which you own as an individual, or with anyone else.
  6. Enter all personal property, including the present value of each item. (For items such as clothing, furniture or jewelry, you may give a total value for each category.)
  7. Enter all automobiles, trucks or motorcycles you own, including for each its year, make and present equity.
  8. Enter any other assets of any kind which you own, including the present value of each.
  9. Enter your monthly mortgage payment, monthly rent or halfway house payment. If you own a house, townhouse, condominium or other real property, enter your mortgage balance.
  10. Enter all outstanding loans, what they are for, the present balance of each, and the name and address of the lender(s).
  11. Enter all credit cards, the present balance of each and the name and address of the issue(s).
  12. Enter all other liabilities, what they are, the present balance of each, and the name and address of the person(s) or institution(s) owed the money.
  13. Enter any other information of any kind concerning your financial circumstances which would be helpful to the court in determining the question of whether you are indigent.
  14. Sign (do not print or type) your name on the line and enter the date. By signing and dating the form, you are certifying that all statements made by you on the form, and any attachments, are true, and that if any of these statements are willfully false, you are aware that you are subject to punishment.

Introduction

This checklist is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to appellate practice. For that, you should consult the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey (the Court Rules) when pursuing an appeal.

This checklist provides some assistance and is intended to serve as a practical guide on rule requirements most frequently questioned by pro se litigants. It also offers suggestions as to some matters not specifically addressed by the Court Rules. Included in this checklist and elsewhere in the pro se kit are instructions and suggestions pertaining to various documents which must be filed with the Appellate Division in the course of pursuing your appeal.

You are not required to file these documents all at the start of the process. For example, if you are an appellant and ordered a transcript, you may not receive it for several weeks, following which you have 45 days to file your brief. Indeed, it is likely to be over a year before you receive an Appellate Division decision on your appeal.


Initiating the Appeal

  1. Appeals (or motions for leave to appeal, addressed below) are generally taken from judgments or orders signed by the trial judge and filed with the trial court. You cannot take an appeal from an opinion, even if written, or from an oral decision. Before filing an appeal, ensure that the trial judge's determination is reduced to a signed judgment or order and filed with the trial court. You have 45 days from the date of filing to appeal that judgment or order. In the case of a jury verdict or in a Special Civil Part case, the judgment or order may be entered on the docket sheet when the decision is rendered. In those instances, a photocopy of the docket sheet would suffice.
  2. You have a right to appeal the final judgment or order of a trial court or decision of a state administrative agency. A judgment, order or decision is considered to be final when it disposes of everything before the court or agency. If there are no further issues to be resolved below, you should file a notice of appeal. You have 45 days from the date the judgment or order is filed to appeal. In agency matters, you generally have 45 days from the date of service of the decision. If you are beyond the 45 days, you may file a motion asking the court to permit you to file the appeal out of time.
  3. If all issues as to all parties are not closed out at trial, the judgment, order or decision is interlocutory. In such instances, you may not file a notice of appeal. You would need to make a motion for leave to appeal, asking the court to consider the matter before it is final. That motion must be filed within 20 days from the date of service of the order and must be accompanied by a brief outlining the facts and legal arguments for the court and giving reasons why they should be addressed at this time. With motions for leave to appeal, the court may exercise the option of granting leave to appeal and deciding the matter at the same time. For that reason, you should raise any supporting argument on the merits at the same time, while staying within the 25 page limit for the motion brief.
  4. Occasionally, it is difficult to determine whether a judgment, order or decision is final or interlocutory. In such an event, you might consider filing both a notice of appeal and motion for leave to appeal. In the motion papers, you can explain the problem and ask the court, if it deems the matter to be interlocutory, that you be granted leave to appeal.
  5. In a few instances, a trial judge may certify an order as final although there are other issues to be resolved at trial. In that case, you should file a notice of appeal and not a motion for leave to appeal.
  6. As the accompanying notice of appeal indicates, if the proceedings below were transcribed or recorded, you must order a copy of the transcript. If you believe that the entire transcript is not necessary, you can either get your adversary to agree to abbreviate the transcript or move before the trial court or agency to abbreviate. To order a transcript, you should contact the county supervisor of court reporters, the court clerk or agency regarding cost, amount required as a deposit, etc. If the transcript is not ordered, you will be cited for a deficiency which will result in delays in processing your appeal. If there is a transcript and you already have a copy, you need not order another copy. Simply certify on the notice of appeal that you have a copy in your possession. (See instructions for completing notice of appeal.)
  7. Your notice of appeal or motion for leave to appeal must be accompanied by the required filing fee. Without it, your appeal or motion will be rejected. If you cannot afford the fee, you should send a motion to proceed as an indigent. In that motion, you should explain your circumstances to the court which, at its discretion, may waive the fees. In addition, in civil matters the Court Rules require that within 30 days of filing your appeal, you should make a $300.00 deposit for costs. These fee requirements do not apply if you are appealing a Board of Review decision or if you were declared indigent by the trial court and you can certify that your circumstances have not changed.
  8. The filing of a notice of appeal does not automatically stay the judgment, order or decision that you are appealing. To secure a stay pending appeal, you should move before the trial court or agency for that stay. If it is denied, you may repeat the motion to the Appellate Division.
  9. The filing of a motion for leave to appeal does not automatically stay the proceedings in the trial court or agency. A motion for stay must be made to the court or agency and if denied, to the Appellate Division.

Form of Appellate Division Documents

The Court Rules prescribe the form and manner of preparation of documents. Some of the most common deficiencies in this regard are the following:

  1. Illegibility, particularly of appendices and exhibits.
  2. Absence of firm covers of the proper color, not glassine, on front and back of briefs and appendices. Frequent handling during the appeal process may cause loss of cover or of pages at front or end of brief if firm covers are not used or if not firmly fastened. For merits briefs, white covers are required for appellant's brief, blue covers for respondent's brief and buff covers for an appellant's reply brief. On a motion, the movant's brief covers should be white and the brief of any responding party should be blue.
  3. Insecure or improper stapling or fastening of papers. Stapling or fastening should be along the left margin or upper left-hand corner.
  4. Briefs not typed. The court considers hand written briefs to be unacceptable.
    1. Failure of pro se litigant to provide name, address and daytime phone number.

Time for Serving and Filing Transcripts, Briefs and Appendices

  1. The court reporter or transcribing agency provides the Appellate Division with a copy of the transcript. The appellant must provide the remaining three copies and must provide one copy to any one respondent, to be shared by all the respondents. This should be done within 10 days of receipt of the complete transcript, but no later than at the time of filing the appellant's brief.
  2. Pursuant to the Court Rules, the appellant shall serve and file a brief and appendix as follows:
    1. Within 45 days after the delivery of the transcript, if a verbatim record was made of the proceedings below.
    2. If the transcript was delivered prior to the filing of the notice of appeal or if no verbatim record was made of the proceedings below, within 45 days of the filing of the appeal.
    3. On an appeal from a State administrative agency, within the time stated above, or within 45 days after the Attorney General serves and files the statement of the items comprising the record on appeal, whichever is later.
  3. A respondent shall serve and file a brief and appendix, if any, within 30 days after receiving the appellant's brief and appendix.
  4. The appellant may serve and file a reply brief within 10 days after receiving the respondent's brief.
  5. If a cross-appeal has been filed, the briefing schedule is similar, except that the appellant gets 30 days to file a brief in response to the cross-appeal and the respondent cross-appellant gets 10 days to file the reply.
  6. In spite of the time provisions stated above, the court may enter a separate scheduling order. If it does, those time limits shall be the ones that must be adhered to.
  7. Each party should file five copies of its brief and appendix with the Clerk's office and serve two copies on each of the other parties. A proof of service should be filed with the Clerk's office.

Contents of Brief and Appendix

  1. Where the brief and appendix are bound together, there shall be a single table of contents for both. If the appendix is bound separately, the brief and appendix shall have separate tables of contents. The table of contents as to the brief shall include the point headings of the arguments raised in the brief. The table of contents as to the appendix shall indicate the first page of each document in the appendix.
  2. You should enter the filing date of each document in the appendix at the head of the page. Filing dates are frequently material to the resolution of issues on appeal. Drafts of documents should not be used for the appendix but only copies of documents or exhibits that were actually provided to the trial court or agency.
  3. The appendix should contain all the relevant documents essential for a proper consideration of the issues on appeal. It must contain both the judgment or order appealed from and the opinion or statement of findings and conclusions of the trial judge. If the opinion or findings and conclusions were delivered orally, it may be submitted to the court through the trial transcript. The Appellate Division judges are interested in seeing the trial court opinion or statement of findings and conclusions early in their examination of the record. Its location in the record should be prominently identified both in the appendix table of contents and the procedural history in the brief. If the opinion was published, the citation should be given, by supplemental letter if necessary.
  4. The appendix should also contain any pretrial order, the complaint, answers and a copy of the notice of appeal. If the judgment or order being appealed is the result of a motion, the appendix should contain the motion papers.
  5. Where the exhibits are of such size or volume as to prohibit the reproduction in the appendix, a party should submit a letter to the Clerk's office, copy to the adversary, itemizing and identifying the exhibits, including the approximate size and bulk of each. At the appropriate time, the court will direct the Clerk's office to advise the party if they desire to see these exhibits, and when and where to deliver them.
  6. If the appendix is bulky or lengthy, it is preferable for the convenience of the judges that it be bound separately from the brief. No more than 200 sheets may be included in a volume. The pages of the appendix shall be numbered consecutively followed by the letter "a" (e.g. 1a, 2a, etc.).
  7. The page limits for briefs must be strictly observed. Initial briefs of the parties shall not exceed 65 pages. Reply briefs shall not exceed 20 pages. Respondent/cross-appellant's brief filed pursuant to Rule 2:6-2(d) shall not exceed 90 pages. Appellant/cross-respondent's brief pursuant to Rule 2:6-4(e) shall not exceed 65 pages.
  8. The procedural history in the brief should be succinct and should cross-reference the pleadings and rulings in the appendix. It should not be a mere recitation of events. For example, it is not sufficient to say: On January 5, 1995 the plaintiff filed a complaint, on January 20, 1995 the defendant filed an answer and counterclaim, and on March 6, 1995 the court granted summary judgment dismissing the complaint and in favor of the defendant on the counterclaim. First, provide the court some idea of the nature of the cause of action stated in the complaint, of the defenses raised in the answer, etc. Next to each document referred to, point the court to the page of the appendix where that document is located. Avoid raising your arguments in the procedural history or the statement of facts (discussed below).
  9. It is improper to refer in the brief to any fact or evidence which was not part of the record in the trial court or agency or to include any such material in the appendix. If a party deems it essential in the interest of justice to bring to the attention of the Appellate Division any material not part of the record below, the proper course is a motion to supplement the record or to remand to the trial court or agency for taking of additional evidence.
  10. The statement of facts in the brief should be in the form of a narrative, chronologically summarizing all pertinent facts of the case. It should not be a summary of all of the evidence given, witness by witness, in the trial. Each significant fact stated should be supported by a cross-reference to the appendix and/or transcript. Remember to avoid raising any arguments in the statement of facts. Do so under the appropriate point heading in the brief.
  11. A separate point heading should be developed for each legal argument raised in the brief. Each argument may be supported by citing cases, statutes, Court Rules and other authorities. Each point of argument of a brief should be confined to discussion of that point and not intermingled with argument of other points.
  12. If you cite cases to support your argument, follow the requirements of pecifying the court and year of each case cited.
  13. All citations and quotations should be checked for accuracy before filing the brief.
  14. The brief must be typed, double spaced, on 8½" x 11" paper.

Motions Generally

  1. Motions are generally considered on the motion papers, without oral argument. If oral argument is desired, it should be requested in the notice of motion. However, the court very rarely permits oral argument on motions.
  2. When filing a motion, you should fulfill the following requirements:
    1. A notice of motion setting forth the specific relief which you are seeking from the court.
    2. A supporting brief in which you outline the case for the court and present your reasons for seeking the relief contained in the motion. The Court Rules require that each motion be supported by a brief of not more than 25 pages. You may not be able to fully address the merits of your motion if you substitute a certification or affidavit in place of the motion brief.
    3. A proof of service indicating that you served a copy of the motion on each adversary.
    4. File an original and four copies of the motion with the Clerk's office.
    5. The complete caption, as it appears in the action below, should be reflected on each document.
    6. Date and sign each document.
  3. You must serve your adversary when filing a motion. Generally, the Clerk's office will not submit a motion to the court if there is no affidavit or certification of service accompanying the motion papers, or received shortly thereafter.
  4. When a motion is made for an extension of time to file a brief, the motion should state the date by which the brief can be filed. The moving party should begin the preparation of the brief, so that if the motion is denied, the requested date modified, or the motion is granted with little time left, the brief will be available for filing.
  5. You may request one extension of up to 30 days without a motion, provided your adversary does not object. In that case, you need only send a letter stating your reason for the request and representing that your adversary does not object. A copy should be sent to your adversary.
  6. If there are no deficiencies, a motion will generally be decided within four weeks. If the relief sought is of an urgent nature, the moving party might consider making an emergent application to the Appellate Division. The individual should contact the Clerk's office to find out the Appellate Division judge on emergent duty for the county where the trial court or agency is located. The party seeking relief should be prepared to explain why the matter is considered emergent. If the relief sought is a stay of a judgment, order or decision pending appeal, the moving party should first move for relief from the trial court or agency and if it is denied, renew the application to the Appellate Division.

The Court Rules provide for a motion for summary disposition of the appeal. Any party to the appeal may make such a motion at any time after the filing of the notice of appeal, but not later than 25 days after the filing of respondent's brief unless leave is otherwise granted. Such a motion should demonstrate that the issues on appeal do not require further briefs or a full record.


Oral Argument

  1. Any party to an appeal may request oral argument by filing with the Clerk's office, no later than 14 days after service of respondent's brief, a separate captioned paper requesting argument.
  2. If you or your adversary request oral argument and you will be unavailable for some period of time in the future, you should advise the Clerk's office, as early as possible, of your unavailability in writing so that the matter will not be calendared for argument during your absence.
  3. The court permits only a limited period of time for argument. Because the judges have read the briefs and researched the legal issues, the court will not allow incessant repetition of the contents of the briefs. This time should be used to focus the court's attention on specific arguments or issues the litigant deems important and to clarify matters of which the judges make inquiry.

Miscellaneous

  1. In the absence of prior leave of court to do so, no supplemental letters or briefs may be sent to the court. The one exception to this rule is that a party may serve and file a letter calling to the court's attention, with a brief indication of their significance, relevant cases decided or legislation enacted after the filing of that party's brief. Any other party to the appeal may serve and file a short letter in response thereto within five days after receipt thereof.
  2. The appellant may withdraw/dismiss the appeal, without consent, at any time prior to the first brief being filed. This can be done by a letter signed by the appellant and proof of service thereof on all the parties.
  3. To withdraw/dismiss an appeal after the first brief has been filed, a stipulation of dismissal, signed by all the parties to the appeal or their attorneys, must be filed. All stipulations of dismissal are with prejudice and without costs, unless the court, on motion, allows otherwise.

Checklist for Preparation of Brief

  1. Contents [R. 2:6-2, R. 2:6-4 ]
    • Table of contents, including point headings to be argued. Any point not presented below must be so indicated in the point heading. If the appendix is bound with the brief, there shall be a single table of contents for both.
    • Table of citations of cases, alphabetically arranged, statutes, rules and other authorities. [Not required in a letter brief.]
    • Any preliminary statement shall not exceed three pages nor contain footnotes.
    • Separate procedural history with page references to the appendix.
    • Separate statement of facts with page references to the appendix and transcript.
      [A separate statement of facts is optional for respondent. A respondent not including such a statement shall be deemed to have adopted appellant's.]
    • Chronological listing in a footnote in the procedural history of the appellant's brief of the dates of the various volumes of the transcript and their numbered designations (i.e., 1T, 2T, etc.) and transcript references (in any brief) which include the numbered designations.
    • Legal argument divided, under appropriate point headings, into as many parts as there are points to be argued.
  2. Form [ R. 2:6-7, R. 2:6-10 ]
    • Pages shall be 8.5" by 11", with one-inch margins.
    • Each page shall contain no more than 26 double-spaced lines of no more than 65 characters, including spaces, each of no less than 10-pitch or 12-point type. The pitch or point type also applies to footnotes.
    • Page limitations (not including tables of contents and citations):
      1. Initial brief of any party - 65
      2. Respondent/cross-appellant - 90
      3. Reply brief - 20
      4. Appellant/cross-respondent - 65
      5. Letter brief - 20
    • Securely fastened, either bound along the left margin or stapled in the upper left-hand corner. Metal fasteners should be covered.
  3. Cover - not glassine [ R. 2:6-6 ]
    • Color:
      1. Appellant - white
      2. Respondent or respondent/cross-appellant - blue
      3. Amicus - green
      4. Reply or appellant/cross-respondent - buff
    • Name of appellate court and docket number.
    • Complete caption as it was in the trial court or agency plus designation of appellant and respondent. [Do not abbreviate or use "et al."]
    • Nature of the proceedings, name of the court and judge or agency below.
    • Title of the document and designation of party for whom filed.
    • Name, office address and telephone number of the attorney of record and names of any attorneys "of counsel" or "on the brief."
  4. Number of Copies and Proof of Service [ R. 2:6-12 ]
    • Five copies of the brief for the Clerk's office and two for each party.
    • Proof of service on each party to be filed simultaneously.
  5. Legibility [ R. 2:6-10 ]
    • Check all copies for legibility.

Checklist for Preparation of Appendix**

**Appendix is Optional for Respondent
  1. Contents [ R. 2:6-, R. 2:6-3 ]
    • Table of contents. Indicate the initial page of each document. Attachments to a document shall be separately identified and the initial page of each noted. Each volume of a separately bound appendix must be prefaced with the full table of contents and shall specify on its cover the pages included therein. If bound with the brief, there shall be a single table of contents for both.
    • In civil actions, the complete pretrial order, if any, and the pleadings.
    • If a motion decision is being appealed, the motion and any supporting or opposing affidavit/certification.
    • In criminal, quasi-criminal or juvenile delinquency actions, the indictment, accusation or complaint.
    • Judgment, order or determination appealed from, including any jury verdict sheet.
    • Trial judge's charge to the jury, if at issue, and any opinions or statement of findings and conclusions.
    • Notice of appeal.
    • Such other parts of the record, excluding the stenographic transcript, as are essential to the proper consideration of the issues.
    • Trial briefs shall not be included in the appendix, unless either the question of whether an issue was raised in the trial court is germane to the appeal, in which event only the material pertinent to that issue shall be included, or the brief is referred to in the decision of the court or agency.
    • Any document already in the appendix, for example annexed to a motion, should not be reproduced again.
    • A document that is included in full in the appellant's appendix should not be duplicated in the respondent's appendix.
  2. Form [ R. 2:6-1, R. 2:6-10 ]
    • Pages shall be 8.5" by 11"
    • Bound with the brief or separately into volumes containing no more than 200 sheets each.
    • Filing date of each paper shall be stated at the head of the copy as well as its subject matter.
    • Each page shall be numbered consecutively followed by the letter "a" (e.g. 1a, 2a, etc.).
    • Securely fastened, either bound along the left margin or stapled in the upper left-hand corner.
  3. Cover [ R. 2:6-6 ]
    • If separate from the brief, cover of the appendix shall be as the brief.
  4. Number of Copies and Proof of Service [ R. 2:6-12 ]
    • Five copies of the brief for the Clerk's office and two for each party.
    • Proof of service on each party to be filed simultaneously.
  5. Legibility [ R. 2:6-10 ]
    • Check all copies for legibility.