The New Appellate Rules

Change is coming to the Minnesota appellate courts.

Karen R. Cole


The appellate courts are going to electronic records and will be requiring appellate efiling.  The district courts are already scanning and transmitting electronic records.  And a pilot project trying efiling will be started involving Ramsey County criminal cases and the Appellate Public Defenders.  Once that is working, efiling and eservice will become permissive, and then eventually, mandatory for all appeals.

Along with the changes in record keeping and transmission will be some changes to the appellate rules.  And appellate practitioners will like many of them.

For one thing, appendices will be eliminated.  They won’t be needed anymore because the appellate court will have access to the full record in electronic form.  There was a sense that lawyers were cramming too much into appendices, and now that the court has full access to the record without having to paw through paper files, they aren’t needed.

On the other hand, the discretionary part of the addendum will be longer.  The addendum must include the order or judgment appealed from, and may include additional “discretionary” pages.   That discretionary part of the addendum will be increased from 15 to 50 pages.  That longer addendum will give the court convenient easy access to the most important parts of the record.  Addenda will now be allowed not just for briefs but for some other kinds of filings:  petitions for writ of certiorari, petitions for further review, petitions for discretionary appeal, petitions for accelerated review, and petitions for extraordinary writs.

A couple other bits of good news:  no more certified copies of the orders or judgments appealed from required, and no more required cost bonds!  Certified copies aren’t needed now that the court will have the full electronic record, and they were more trouble than they were worth.  Appellants will still include a copy of the order or judgment appealed from with the notice of appeal, but it won’t need to be certified.  And, cost bonds will not be required.  They too were more trouble than they were worth.  Cost bonds can still be requested by a party when there is a need for them.

Even though briefs will be filed electronically, paper copies will also be required.  That will be disappointing.  It means we will actually have more work, not less.  And it means there will still be those last minute dealings with the printer.  But it reflects the fact that much (but not all) of the system will be operating electronically.  Like all of us lawyers, some judges process things best in electronic form, and some prefer paper.  It is clear though – we’re on the road to all electronic.  And these new rules will make some things easier.

(Questions about the new rules?  Or do you need help with a brief?  Let me know.  You can reach me at