As the New Term Begins, Reminders From the Appellate Division About Oral Argument

The Appellate Division has issued this Notice to the Bar It contains important reminders about several matters relating to oral argument in that court.

First, the Notice states that appeals will be submitted without oral argument unless a party files a separate captioned paper within 14 days after service of respondent’s brief (or if the Appellate Division orders oral argument on its own). The Notice cites Rule 2:11-1(b) for that. If one party timely requests argument, other parties need not do so but may rely on the filed request. Concomitantly, a party may not withdraw its request for oral argument unless all parties consent.

Second, the Notice states that “In scheduling appeals for oral argument, the Clerk’s office considers attorneys’ vacation plans and other conflicts which the Clerk’s office has been apprised of prior to scheduling. It is important that attorneys inform and update the Clerk’s office of any such plans or conflicts in any appeal in which oral argument has been requested.” This is a useful reminder to write to the Appellate Division and advise of any planned vacation or other considerations that would make certain dates unavailable. Absent that, counsel may either be stuck with an assigned date or offered the opportunity to submit the case on the papers. Neither option is very appealing (could not resist saying that).

Finally, and likely reflective of the reason for this update, the Notice states that “The court has observed an increase in requests for postponement of oral argument. Unless the Clerk’s office has been kept apprised of an attorney’s vacation plans or other conflict, the court will not adjourn an appeal scheduled for oral argument for such reason. In the event of such a conflict, the court will consider, on notice to all parties, an application to have the case submitted for determination on the briefs.”

As a postscript, the Notice concludes with this reminder: “The court reminds litigants and the bar of the obligation to immediately advise the court when a settlement has been reached or is believed imminent. Sessner v. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., 435 N.J. Super. 347 (App. Div. 2014).” No appellate judge wants to prepare for a case that has already settled.

None of this is novel or hard to understand. But reminders like this are always beneficial.