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Briefs on Appeal

The brief is a party's written argument filed with the Court of Appeals.  The brief argues why the trial court made a mistake.  It must include citations to the record and to cases, rules, or statutes, to support that argument.  The briefs must comply with specific format and length requirements.  You can find these in App.R. 16 and Local Rule 16, 18, and 19.

Key Points

* The Court does not put on a briefing schedule.  The briefs are due based on the time limits in the Appellate Rules.

* Briefs must comply with the Appellate Rules and Local Rules or they may be struck.

* The Court has created templates to help you write your brief.


Appellant's Brief

The appellant must file a brief in support of the appellant's argument.  Appellant's brief is due 20 days after the clerk of courts has mailed the notice of filing the record.  App.R. 18(A).

The brief should set forth assignments of errors followed by arguments that show the errors that occurred in the trial court proceedings.  The brief must include citations to the record, Local Rule 16(D), and to law to support the argument.  Local Rule 16(A)(7).  The law cited in the brief could be statutes, rules, prior court decisions, or a combination of all three.  Local Rule 16 explains the format requirements for a brief.


Appellee's Brief and Appellant's Reply Brief

The appellee, the party that won in the trial court, may file a brief, but is not required to do so.  Appellee's brief is due 20 dys after service of appellant's brief.

If appellee files a brief, appellant may file a reply brief, a shorter brief that only responds to appellee's argument.  The reply brief should not make new arguments; it should only reply to appellee's arguments.  Local Rule 16(C).  The reply brief is due ten days after service of appellee's brief.  App.R. 18(A).



Appellant's brief must include an appendix that includes the order from which you have appealed.  You should not include other documents or materials; the Local Rules only permit the order appealed to be included in the appendix.  Local Rule 16(A)(11).  You also cannot add new evidence in the appendix to the brief.  The court of appeals can only consider evidence that was presented to the trial court, and that evidence will be in the record, so it should not be attached to your brief in the appendix.

You can learn about preparing your brief by viewing this presentation - Guide to Brief Preparation.  You can also view a sample brief, with tips about preparing your brief, here.  The Court has also prepared templates which are Word documents that you can use to write your briefs.  You can also use this Brief Checklist to make sure you have prepared a brief that complies with the Court's Local Rules.

If your brief does not comply with the Appellate Rules or this Court's Local Rules, the Court of Appeals will file an order giving you additional time to correct the problems.  If you do not respond to that order, the appeal may be dismissed.



Brief Due Dates

The Ninth District Court of Appeals does not put on a briefing schedule.  Instead, the briefs must be filed according to the deadlines set in the Appellate Rules, as described below.  These time periods begin to run automatically - you will not receive any notice from the Court of Appeals telling you when your brief is due.  If an appellant does not file a brief, the appeal may be dismissed. 

Appellant's brief is due within 20 days of the clerk's mailing of the notice of the filing of the record.  App.R. 18(A).  An appellant may file a certification of extension of time and receive one automatic 20-day extension of the due date.  Local Rule 14(A)(1).

Appellee's brief is due within 20 days of the service of the appellant's brief, but appellee is not required to file a brief.  App.R. 18(A).  An appellee may file a certification of extension of time and receive one automatic 20-day extension of the due date.  Local Rule 14(A)(1).


Appellant's reply brief, if appellant chooses to file a reply brief, is due within ten days after service of the appellee's brief.  App.R. 18(A).  An appellant cannot file a certification of extension of time for a reply brief.  Local Rule 14(A)(1)(d).


When briefing is completed, the Court of Appeals schedules oral argument, if requested.  GO TO ORAL ARGUMENT