Court Rules for Hyperlinked Briefs



    One of the fundamental concerns about electronic briefs is whether courts will accept them.  We have collected the rules from various jurisdictions, including information from our conversations with the clerks for those courts.   This is a work in progress, so check back often.  If we do not have your jurisdiction on the list, send us an email, and we will add it.

We always double-check the rules for any hyperlinked brief that we create, and will make every effort to transfer that information to this list on a regular basis.  TGL Media does not provide legal advice, however, and intends the list to be used as a starting point for research rather than the final answer for every case.

It is important to keep three facts in mind when reading court rules.  Read more

For more specific information about each court, click on the red buttons below:


Federal Appellate Courts

 
U.S. Supreme Court
                                                   

1st Circuit Court of Appeals

  2d Circuit Court of Appeals

  3d Circuit Court of Appeals

  4th Circuit Court of Appeals

  5th Circuit Court of Appeals

  6th Circuit Court of Appeals


 
7th Circuit Court of Appeals

  8th Circuit Court of Appeals

  9th Circuit Court of Appeals

  10th Circuit Court of Appeals

  11th Circuit Court of Appeals

  D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

 
Federal Circuit Court of Appeals


Federal District Courts

  Georgia, Northern District

  Georgia, Middle District

  Georgia, Southern District

  Illinois, Northern District

  Illinois, Central District

  Illinois, Southern District


  Indiana, Northern District

  Indiana, Southern District

  Iowa, Northern District

  Iowa, Southern District

  West Virginia, Northern District

  West Virginia, Southern District


State Courts

  California

  Georgia

  Indiana


  Iowa

  West Virginia




  U.S. Supreme Court


The Court Rules (available here) do not address either electronic or hyperlinked briefs.   In April 2004, the Merits Clerk told us that the Court does accept hyperlinked briefs on CD-ROM.  She suggested that such briefs be hand-delivered, because mail containing computer disks is sent for screening, so delivery may be delayed for several weeks.



  First Circuit Court of Appeals

The First Circuit
(court rules available here) is one of the few courts to have specific rules governing hyperlinked briefs, and has by far the most intricate requirements.  Local Rule 32 requires that all parties include an electronic version of all pleadings more than 10 pages long.  Local Rule 32.1 not only allows hyperlinked briefs, but encourages the parties to file a joint CD-ROM.  Briefs with hyperlinks must be filed within ten (10) days after the deadline for hard copies, or fourteen (14) days for joint submissions (L.R. 32.1(c)).

The CD-ROM label must include specific information (L.R. 32.1(d) (4) & (5)).  The court requires that the CD-ROM contain the briefs, appendices, and any prior submissions by the parties (L.R. 32.1(e)(1)).  The submitting party may, but is not required to, include other briefs and pleadings, the record, and any materials cited in the main briefs (L.R. 32.1(e)(2)).  "Parties are encouraged to file the entire record." (Id.)

The Court has specific requirements about format, where the files reside on the CD-ROM, and an index page (L.R. 32.1(f) & (h)).  Hyperlinks can point only to materials on the same CD-ROM, not to any other CDs or the Internet (L.R. 32.1(g)).  Presumably, a party could download a webpage, convert it to PDF, and include it on the CD.



  Second Circuit Court of Appeals

The Second Circuit court rules (available here) do not address electronic briefs.  Instead, the Court in 1997 issued Administrative Order 98-2 (apparently not available online), stating that electronic briefs may be filed when all parties have consented or the court has granted a motion to file.  In a recent case,
Phansalkar v. Andersen, Weinroth & Co., L.P., 356 F3d. 188 (2d Cir. 2004), the court described electronic briefs as "versatile" and "useful."  Id. at 191.  The court denied the prevailing party the costs of preparing the briefs, concluding that they duplicate the normal hard copies.  Id.



  Third Circuit Court of Appeals

The Third Circuit rules (available here) do not address electronic briefs.



  Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Fourth Circuit rules (available here) do not address electronic briefs.



  Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Fifth Circuit rules (available here) require an electronic copy of all briefs produced on a computer, but do not mention hyperlinks.  Circuit Rule 31.1 requires a brief in PDF on a 3-1/2" disk. 



  Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Sixth Circuit rules (available here) do not address electronic briefs.



  Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

The Seventh Circuit rules (available here) require an electronic copy of all briefs, but do not mention hyperlinks.  Circuit Rule 31(e) requires a digital copy of each brief and the joint appendix to be filed with the paper copy of the brief.  The digital brief may be provided on a disk or over the Internet (Cir. R. 31(e)(1)).  The brief must be in PDF, converted from the original word processing text (Cir. R. 31(e)(3)).

The Seventh Circuit handbook (available here) has the additional requirement that a disk, "if used, must contain nothing more than the text of the brief in a single file."  Section XXI H.  It is not clear how this requirement can be reconciled with the requirement that the appendix be filed with the brief.

The best way to resolve this apparent conflict would be to provide simple PDF documents, and then provide a separate disk with all of the hyperlinked material.

The Seventh Circuit "Brief Filing Checklist" (available here) lists a requirement that counsel providing a brief on CD-Rom include a certification that the disk is virus-free. (Checklist No. 21).



  Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Eighth Circuit rules (available here)
require an electronic copy of all briefs, but do not mention hyperlinks.  Local Rule 28(d) requires a digital copy of each brief and the joint appendix to be filed with the paper copy of the brief.  The brief must be in PDF, converted from the original word processing text (L.R. 28(d)). The rule also specifies that "nothing else shold be on the diskette or CD-ROM." (Id.).

The best way to provide a hyperlinked brief, then, would be to file a second disk with all of the hyperlinked material.



  Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Ninth Circuit rules (available here) do not mention electronic or hyperlinked briefs.  In a 2001 notice (available here), the Court announced an "experiment" in accepting electronic briefs.  All parties must agree.  Each CD-ROM may contain only one brief.  The parties also may include record excerpts. 



  Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Tenth Circuit rules (available here) do not address electronic briefs.



  Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

The Eleventh Circuit rules (available here)
require an electronic copy of all briefs, but do not mention hyperlinks.  Circuit Rule 31-5 requires a digital copy of each brief to be filed with the paper copy of the brief.  The digital brief may be provided on a disk or over the Internet (Cir. R. 31-5).  "Hypertext links or bookmarks to cases, statues, or other reference materials available on the Internet or appended to the brief are authorized. (Cir. R. 31-5(a)(b) & (c)).



  District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals

The District of Columbia rules (available here) do not mention electronic or hyperlinked briefs.



  Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

The Federal Circuit, perhaps because of its jurisdiction over patent and other cases involving large amounts of technical material, has developed a specific rule (available here) governing hyperlinked briefs.  Cir. R. 32(e) requires either consent from the opposing party or permission from the court.  The court will deny permission only if the objecting party shows "substantial prejudice." (Cir. R. 32(e)(1).  Thet potential pitfall is the rule's requirement that you seek agreement from opposing counsel within 14 days after filing the notice of appeal (Id.) and "promply" file a notice of intention to file an electronic brief (if opposing counsel agrees) or a motion for leave (if there is no agreement).

Hyperlinks be must confined to matters in the record or legal authorities (Cir. R. 32(c)(2)).  The court requires a certification that the CD-ROM is virus-free (Cir. R. 32(c)(3)).  The CD-ROM must be filed by the time the hard copy of the joint appendix is due (7 days after the reply brief) (Cir. R. 32(c)(4)).



  Georgia, Northern District

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia has just published new rules for online electronic filing. 

The court rules for civil cases (available here) allow "courtesy copies" of pleadings to be supplied to a judge or magistrate on CD-ROM.  Local Rule 5.2(A)(2) allows hyperlinks to "case cites, statutes, affidavits, depositions and exhibits."  The only other requirement is that copies be served on all parties (Id.).

The court rules for criminal cases (available here) state that motions are subject to the format and filing requirements of Local Rule 5.2 (LCrR 12.1(A)).



  Georgia, Middle District

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia expects to be ready to accept electronic fililng in July 2004.  The court rules (avilable here) do not mention hyperlinked briefs.



  Georgia, Southern District

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia has not made public any plans to accept electronic filings.  Neither the court rules for civil cases (available here) nor those for criminal cases (available here) mention hyperlinked briefs.



  Illinois, Northern District

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois rules (available here) do not mention hyperlinked briefs.



  Illinois, Central District

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois has adopted new rules for online electronic filing.  Local Rule 5.1 (available here) authorizes electronic filing, but does not mention hyperlinked briefs.



  Illinois, Southern District

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois has adopted new rules for online electronic filing.  The local rules (available here) do not mention hyperlinked briefs.




  Indiana, Northern District

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana rules (available here) allow electronic filing (Local Rule 5.6).  The rules do not mention hyperlinked briefs.




  Indiana, Southern District

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana rules (available here) allow electronic filing (Local Rule 5.4).  The rules do not mention hyperlinked briefs.




  Iowa, Northern District

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa rules (available here) allow electronic filing (Local Rule 5.3).  The rules do not mention hyperlinked briefs.




  Iowa, Southern District

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa rules (available here) allow electronic filing (Local Rule 5.3).  The rules do not mention hyperlinked briefs.




  West Virginia, Northern District

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia rules (available here) do not mention electronic filing, but the court plans to institute that procedure in 2005.  The local rules do not mention hyperlinked briefs.




  West Virginia, Southern District

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia allows electronic filing.  The local rules (available here) do not mention hyperlinked briefs.




  California

The California appellate rules (available here) do not mention electronic briefs. 

The Second District Court of Appeals has issued an Invitation to File Electronic Records and Briefs (available here) that encourages hyperlinked briefs.  The Court said that its ideal electronic brief will have the reporter's transcript and joint appendix (both searchable), copies of all cited authorities, and all briefs with hyperlinks.  "So, for example, a citation to the record would be hyperlinked to the reporters' transcript or to the appendix -- and thus would be only a mouse-click away from the person reviewing the brief on a computer screen."



    Georgia

Neither the Georgia Supreme Court rules (available here) nor the rules for the Georgia Court of Appeals (available here) mention electronic briefs.  Clerks for both courts, however, have accepted hyperlinked briefs accompanied by a motion for leave to file such a brief, and both courts routinely grant those motions.



    Iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals use the same Appellate Procedure rules (chapter 6 of Iowa Court Rules available here).  The rules do not mention electronic or hyperlinked briefs.



    Indiana

The Indiana Supreme Court and Court of Appeals use the same Appellate Procedure rules (available here).  Rule 43-K allows, but does not require, a copy of the documents in electronic format.  "Any electronic format used by the word processing system to generate the document is permissible."  This rule would seem to allow PDF documents created from word processing text programs.



    West Virginia

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Rules of Appellate Procedure (available here) do not mention electronic or hyperlinked briefs.




Home Page | Who We Are | What We Do | Why TGL? | What It Costs | Contact Us | News & Ideas