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Amicus Briefs Resources

Amicus Announcements

Treatises

Massachusetts Court Rules

Like other court filings, the format, contents, and timing of the filing of amicus briefs are governed by court rules.  The following is a list of rules you should consider when filing an amicus brief in the Supreme Judicial Court or the Appeals Court in Massachusetts. Annotated versions of these court rules can be found on Lexis Advance and Westlaw.  Also, some legal rules are derived from case law, e.g. disclosure requirements, so review the suggested treatises for other requirements.  For example, see Appellate Practice in Massachusetts § 17.3.4 for a discussion of the case law in Massachusetts on the disclosure requirements for an amicus.

Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure

Rule 17. Brief of an Amicus Curiae

Rule 16. Briefs
Rule 19. Filing and Serving of Briefs and Motions
Rule 20. Form of Briefs, Appendices, and Other Papers

Supreme Judicial Court Rules & Orders

Supreme Judicial Court Order Regarding Electronic Filing Pilot Projects
Interim Electronic Filing Rules for Pilot Courts
Note:  Although these orders were issued by the SJC, they would be applicable to cases in the Massachusetts Appeals Court, which allows for the filing of briefs in civil cases as part of this pilot. See Appeals Court E-Filing Guidance and Updates for more information about e-filing in this court.

Appeals Court Rules & Orders (applicable for filings in the Massachusetts Appeals Court)

Appeals Court Order Governing Number of Copies of Brief and Record Appendix to be Filed
Appeals Court Order Concerning Electronic Filing Pilot Project

Supreme Judicial Court Records and Briefs

  • Access: Freely available on the web; updated nightly
  • Coverage: complete information on cases entered since January 1, 1992 in the SJC. May contain some information on older cases that were active when the conversion to the automated system occurred.
  • Filings: Most briefs filed since September 2007 are available in PDF from the case docket
  • Access: BC Law students should have an assigned password or may register for one on the Bloomberg Law website
  • Coverage: 2009-current
  • Filings: click the hyperlinked number next to a document entry to access filings; if the document is not immediately available, you can request it. 
  • Note: be sure to check currency information at the top of the docket; Bloomberg dockets are only updated when a customer pays a fee for them to obtain the information from the court, so currency varies widely from case to case. BC Law subscribers can update dockets and request documents for NO additional fee (you can ignore the fee warning). However, you cannot request anything that requires a courier to visit the court.
  • Coverage: 2000-current 
  • Filings: where available on Westlaw, they are provided on the Filings tab above the docket sheet. 
  • Note: be sure to check currency information at the top of the docket; if necessary, click the Update button. BC Law's subscription covers updating.
  • Access: No student or faculty access to Courtlink. To access docket sheets from Lexis Advance, use the Dockets filter and run a search for the docket number or parties. Unfortunately, the filings are not linked from the docket sheets. To find filings, use the Briefs, Pleadings, and Motions filter.

Appeals Court Records and Briefs

  • Mass Appellate Courts - Public Case Information 
  • Access: Freely available on the web.
  • Coverage: Complete information on cases entered since January 1, 1988 in the Appeals Court. May contain some information on older cases that were active when the conversion to the automated system occurred. 
  • Filings: Unavailable.
  • Access: BC Law students should have an assigned password or may register for one on the Bloomberg Law website
  • Coverage: 2009-current
  • Filings: click the hyperlinked number next to a document entry to access filings; if the document is not immediately available, you can request it. 
  • Note: be sure to check currency information at the top of the docket; Bloomberg dockets are only updated when a customer pays a fee for them to obtain the information from the court, so currency varies widely from case to case. BC Law subscribers can update dockets and request documents for NO additional fee (you can ignore the fee warning). However, you cannot request anything that requires a courier to visit the court. Most state filings will not be available because they require a courier.
  • Coverage: 2000-current
  • Filings: where available on Westlaw, they are provided on the Filings tab above the docket sheet. 
  • Note: ability to track, email, or download docket
  • Access: No student or faculty access to Courtlink. To access docket sheets from Lexis Advance, use the Dockets filter and run a search for the docket number or parties. Unfortunately, the filings are not linked from the docket sheets. To find filings, use the Briefs, Pleadings, and Motions filter.