The Supreme Court issued two orders on Tuesday that amended a number of the Appellate Court Rules.  Links to the two orders in question can be found here and here.  There were numerous small revisions, but the major changes that are applicable to appellate practitioners are summarized below.

Rule 207: The amendments to this rule mostly impose new duties on court reporters who are providing transcripts related to appeals.  Court reporters are now required to acknowledge the receipt of a request for a transcript within 5 business days of receiving the request.  Court reporters seeking extensions of time for providing transcripts under this rule now file for those extensions using a new form from the Office of Court Administration.  The amendments now require that both counsel for the appellant and court reporters provide the court with copies of their communication “via electronic means as specified by the Order of the Supreme Court.”

Rule 208(b):  It is now required that you include a “Standard of Review” section in your briefs.  While this has been a practice for most appellate lawyers up until now, it is now mandatory.  The new addition to the rule reads:

If all the issues are governed by the same standard of appellate review, the Brief shall contain a section with the heading “Standard of Review,” which shall concisely set forth the applicable standard of review with citations to relevant case law establishing the standard. If the same standard of review is not applicable to all of the issues, a separate section with a heading of “Standard of Review” shall be included at the start of the argument on each issue with citations to relevant case law establishing this standard of review.

Rule 218(a):  This rule relates to permitted conduct during oral arguments.  The rule previously read that “Unless otherwise permitted by the court, counsel will not be permitted to read from books, briefs, records or authorities cited.”  The new amendment adds an exception to this general rule which states, “although brief references therefrom may be read to illustrate points and argument.”

Rule 221(a):  Returns to Petitions for Rehearing are no longer permitted unless they are requested by the appellate court.  Previously, the rule read that these returns were not required, but now they are not permitted without a request from the court.  The rule does note that “[o]rdinarily, however, rehearing will not be granted in the absence of such a request.”

Rule 245(a):  Petitions for Original Jurisdiction no longer need to be supported by affidavits.  Previously, the rule: “If the public interest is involved, or if special grounds of emergency or other good reasons exist why the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court should be exercised, the facts showing the reasons must be stated in the petition with supporting affidavits.”  In the recent amendment, the language requiring “supporting affidavits” was removed.

Rule 260(b): The court added language to the rule controlling dismissals of appeals by consent of the parties.  The rule now states: “An agreement that the proceeding be dismissed need not be in the form of a motion unless the parties request that the appellate court alter the costs assessed; approve a settlement agreement; modify the requirements of an Appellate Court Rule; or vacate a prior order, opinion, or judgment.”

So, if you are working on an appeal, be aware of these changes and be sure to consult the updated rules, which are available online.