The Appellate Division Will Now Strictly Enforce Certain Rules

In a Notice to the Bar, the Appellate Division has announced that, effective July 1, 2013, the Clerk’s Office will begin “strictly enforcing” various time limitations and page restrictions of the Court Rules.  The time provisions at issue include the 45-day period for filing appeals as of right (Rule 2:4-1), the 20-day period for filing motions for leave to appeal (Rule 2:5-6), and the 10-day period for filing motions for reconsideration (Rule 2:11-6).  Papers filed after those time periods have elapsed will require a motion to file as within time in order for the papers to be accepted. 

Briefing rules that will now be strictly enforced include the page limits for all formal briefs contained in Rule 2:6-7, the 20-page limit on letter briefs (Rule 2:6-2), the 25-page limit on motion briefs (Rule 2:8-1), and the three-page limit on Preliminary Statements (Rule 2:6-2).  Unlike the provisions of this Notice regarding time limitations, the paragraphs applicable to brief page limits do not expressly state that exceptions can be made if a motion for leave to file an overlength brief or Preliminary Statement is made.  Whether it is intended that such motions are no longer permitted remains to be seen.

The Notice does not say why strict enforcement is being commenced.  It appears, however, that this may have been motivated by the ongoing rollout of electronic filing in the Appellate Division, which is currently scheduled to begin in or about September 2013.  Unlike human case managers, an electronic system cannot function unless time deadlines and page limitations are uniformly implemented in every case.  Enforcement of these rules should not pose any trouble to practitioners or parties, since they were always subject to those rules and cannot complain that relaxations may no longer (or less frequently) occur.