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Source(As amended Apr. 30, 1979, eff. Aug. 1, 1979; Mar. 10, 1986, eff. July 1, 1986; Apr. 25, 1989, eff. Dec. 1, 1989; Apr. 30, 1991, eff. Dec. 1, 1991; Apr. 22, 1993, eff. Dec. 1, 1993; Apr. 29, 1994, eff. Dec. 1, 1994; Apr. 24, 1998, eff. Dec. 1, 1998; Apr. 29, 2002, eff. Dec. 1, 2002.)
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1967
This rule is based upon Supreme Court Rule 40. For variations in present circuit rules on briefs see 2d Cir. Rule 17, 3d Cir. Rule 24, 5th Cir. Rule 24, and 7th Cir. Rule 17. All circuits now limit the number of pages of briefs, a majority limiting the brief to 50 pages of standard typographic printing. Fifty pages of standard typographic printing is the approximate equivalent of 70 pages of typewritten text, given the page sizes required by Rule 32 and the requirement set out there that text produced by a method other than standard typographic must be double spaced.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1979 Amendment
The proposed amendment eliminates the distinction appearing in the present rule between the permissible length in pages of printed and typewritten briefs, investigation of the matter having disclosed that the number of words on the printed page is little if any larger than the number on a page typed in standard elite type.
The provision is made subject to local rule to permit the court of appeals to require that typewritten briefs be typed in larger type and permit a correspondingly larger number of pages.
Subdivision (j). Proposed new Rule 28 (j) makes provision for calling the court’s attention to authorities that come to the party’s attention after the brief has been filed. It is patterned after the practice under local rule in some of the circuits.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1986 Amendment
While Rule 28 (g) can be read as requiring that tables of authorities be included in a reply brief, such tables are often not included. Their absence impedes efficient use of the reply brief to ascertain the appellant’s response to a particular argument of the appellee or to the appellee’s use of a particular authority. The amendment to Rule 28 (c) is intended to make it clear that such tables are required in reply briefs.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1989 Amendment
The amendment provides that the corporate disclosure statement required by new rule 26.1 shall be treated similarly to tables of contents and tables of citations and shall not be counted for purposes of the number of pages allowed in a brief.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1991 Amendment
Subdivision (a). The amendment adds a new subparagraph (2) that requires an appellant to include a specific jurisdictional statement in the appellant’s brief to aid the court of appeals in determining whether it has both federal subject matter and appellate jurisdiction.
Subdivision (b). The amendment requires the appellee to include a jurisdictional statement in the appellee’s brief except that the appellee need not include the statement if the appellee is satisfied with the appellant’s jurisdictional statement.
Subdivision (h). The amendment provides that when more than one party appeals from a judgment or order, the party filing the first appeal is normally treated as the appellant for purposes of this rule and Rules 30 and 31. The party who first files an appeal usually is the principal appellant and should be treated as such. Parties who file a notice of appeal after the first notice often bring protective appeals and they should be treated as cross appellants. Local rules in the Fourth and Federal Circuits now take that approach. If notices of appeal are filed on the same day, the rule follows the old approach of treating the plaintiff below as the appellant. For purposes of this rule, in criminal cases “the plaintiff” means the United States. In those instances where the designations provided by the rule are inappropriate, they may be altered by agreement of the parties or by an order of the court.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1993 Amendment
Note to paragraph (a)(5). The amendment requires an appellant’s brief to state the standard of review applicable to each issue on appeal. Five circuits currently require these statements. Experience in those circuits indicates that requiring a statement of the standard of review generally results in arguments that are properly shaped in light of the standard.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1994 Amendment
Subdivision (a). The amendment adds a requirement that an appellant’s brief contain a summary of the argument. A number of circuits have local rules requiring a summary and the courts report that they find the summary useful. See, D.C. Cir. R. 11(a)(5); 5th Cir. R. 28.2.2; 8th Cir. R. 28A(i)(6); 11th Cir. R. 28–2(i); and Fed. Cir. R. 28.
Subdivision (b). The amendment adds a requirement that an appellee’s brief contain a summary of the argument.
Subdivision (g). The amendment adds proof of service to the list of items in a brief that do not count for purposes of the page limitation. The concurrent amendment to Rule 25 (d) requires a certificate of service to list the addresses to which a paper was mailed or at which it was delivered. When a number of parties must be served, the listing of addresses may run to several pages and those pages should not count for purposes of the page limitation.
Committee Notes on Rules—1998 Amendment
The language and organization of the rule are amended to make the rule more easily understood. In additional to changes made to improve the understanding, the Advisory Committee has changed language to make style and terminology consistent throughout the appellate rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only.
Subdivision (a). The current rule requires a brief to include a statement of the case which includes a description of the nature of the case, the course of proceedings, the disposition of the case—all of which might be described as the procedural history—as well as a statement of the facts. The amendments separate this into two statements: one procedural, called the statement of the case; and one factual, called the statement of the facts. The Advisory Committee believes that the separation will be helpful to the judges. The table of contents and table of authorities have also been separated into two distinct items.
An additional amendment of subdivision (a) is made to conform it with an amendment being made to Rule 32. Rule 32 (a)(7) generally requires a brief to include a certificate of compliance with type-volume limitations contained in that rule. (No certificate is required if a brief does not exceed 30 pages, or 15 pages for a reply brief.) Rule 28 (a) is amended to include that certificate in the list of items that must be included in a brief whenever it is required by Rule 32.
Subdivision (g). The amendments delete subdivision (g) that limited a principal brief to 50 pages and a reply brief to 25 pages. The length limitations have been moved to Rule 32. Rule 32 deals generally with the format for a brief or appendix.
Subdivision (h). The amendment requires an appellee’s brief to comply with Rule 28 (a)(1) through (11) with regard to a cross-appeal. The addition of separate paragraphs requiring a corporate disclosure statement, table of authorities, statement of facts, and certificate of compliance increased the relevant paragraphs of subdivision (a) from (7) to (11). The other changes are stylistic; no substantive changes are intended.
Committee Notes on Rules—2002 Amendment
Subdivision (j). In the past, Rule 28 (j) has required parties to describe supplemental authorities “without argument.” Enforcement of this restriction has been lax, in part because of the difficulty of distinguishing “state[ment] . . . [of] the reasons for the supplemental citations,” which is required, from “argument” about the supplemental citations, which is forbidden.
As amended, Rule 28 (j) continues to require parties to state the reasons for supplemental citations, with reference to the part of a brief or oral argument to which the supplemental citations pertain. But Rule 28 (j) no longer forbids “argument.” Rather, Rule 28 (j) permits parties to decide for themselves what they wish to say about supplemental authorities. The only restriction upon parties is that the body of a Rule 28 (j) letter—that is, the part of the letter that begins with the first word after the salutation and ends with the last word before the complimentary close—cannot exceed 350 words. All words found in footnotes will count toward the 350-word limit.
Changes Made After Publication and Comments. No changes were made to the text of the proposed amendment or to the Committee Note, except that the word limit was increased from 250 to 350 in response to the complaint of some commentators that parties would have difficulty bringing multiple supplemental authorities to the attention of the court in one 250-word letter.
LinksFederal Rules of Appellate Procedure
I. Applicability of Rules
1. Scope of Rules
2. Suspension of Rules
II. Appeal From a Judgment or Order of a District Court
3. Appeal as of Right—How Taken
3.1. Appeal from a Judgment of a Magistrate Judge in a Civil Case (Abrogated)
4. Appeal as of RightWhen Taken
5. Appeal by Permission
5.1. Appeal by Leave under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(5) (Abrogated)
6. Appeal in a Bankruptcy Case from a Final Judgment, Order, or Decree of a District Court or Bankruptcy Appellate Panel
7. Bond for Costs on Appeal in a Civil Case
8. Stay or Injunction Pending Appeal
9. Release in a Criminal Case
10. The Record on Appeal
11. Forwarding the Record
12. Docketing the Appeal; Filing a Representation Statement; Filing the Record
III. Review of a Decision of the United States Tax Court
13. Review of a Decision of the Tax Court
14. Applicability of Other Rules to the Review of a Tax Court Decision
IV. Review or Enforcement of an Order of an Administrative Agency, Board, Commission, or Officer
15. Review or Enforcement of an Agency Order—How Obtained; Intervention
15.1. Briefs and Oral Argument in a National Labor Relations Board Proceeding
16. The Record on Review or Enforcement
17. Filing the Record
18. Stay Pending Review
19. Settlement of a Judgment Enforcing an Agency Order in Part
20. Applicability of Rules to the Review or Enforcement of an Agency Order
V. Extraordinary Writs
21. Writs of Mandamus and Prohibition, and Other Extraordinary Writs
VI. Habeas Corpus; Proceedings in Forma Pauperis
22. Habeas Corpus and Section 2255 Proceedings
23. Custody or Release of a Prisoner in a Habeas Corpus Proceeding
24. Proceeding in Forma Pauperis
VII. General Provisions
25. Filing and Service
26. Computing and Extending Time
26.1. Corporate Disclosure Statement
29. Brief of an Amicus Curiae
30. Appendix to the Briefs
31. Serving and Filing Briefs
32. Form of Briefs, Appendices, and Other Papers
32.1. Citing Judicial Dispositions
33. Appeal Conferences
34. Oral Argument
35. En Banc Determination
36. Entry of Judgment; Notice
37. Interest on Judgment
38. Frivolous Appeal—Damages and Costs
40. Petition for Panel Rehearing
41. Mandate: Contents; Issuance and Effective Date; Stay
42. Voluntary Dismissal
43. Substitution of Parties
44. Case Involving a Constitutional Question When the United States or the Relevant State is Not a Party
45. Clerk’s Duties
47. Local Rules by Courts of Appeals
Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
Federal Rules of Evidence
Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual
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