How to Appeal a Court’s Decision in Massachusetts?
The first step to filing an appeal in Massachusetts is to submit a notice of appeal to the district court where your case was processed. If you do not file on time, the court may dismiss your appeal.
Notice of Appeal
You must file your notice of appeal within thirty days of the final judgment in your case. This document must include the following information:
- Your name and address.
- The final judgment in the case.
- Date of final judgment.
The Clerk of the court is responsible for serving all parties with a copy of the notice of appeal. You must order your transcript of the case within ten days of filing the notice of appeal. Within ten days after receiving the Record of Appeal, each appellant is required to pay a docketing fee.
The most important document for your appeal is the brief. The brief is what the panel of judges will use to make their decision. You must include the following information in your brief:
- Table of contents with page references.
- Statement of the issues
- Statement of the case
Your brief should be no more than fifty total pages long. The appellant brief is due within forty days after the docketing date, and the appellee brief is due within thirty days of receiving the appellant brief. Additionally, the appellant will have another fourteen days to file a reply brief.
Either side may request permission to present an oral argument which will be scheduled by the Clerk of the court. You will have only fifteen minutes to present, unless in a murder case (first degree) then you will have twenty minutes.
The judges on the panel will meet to discuss the case and come to a decision called the Rescript. The Clerk of the court will mail a copy to all participants once a decision has been reached. If you are not pleased with the outcome, you can petition for a rehearing or take the case higher to the Supreme Court.