Arkansas attorneys filing briefs and motions in the Arkansas Supreme Court or Arkansas Court of Appeals should be aware that two new rules go into effect beginning today (August 1, 2013) that change the procedure for filing briefs and pleadings in Arkansas’s appellate courts. Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 3-7 requires that a cover sheet now be included with case initiating documents (the initial record or pleading) and Rule 1-8 requires that briefs and pleadings now be submitted electronically in addition to the paper copies also required by the Court’s rules. The following is a summary of the two new rules. Of course, we advise that you review these rules in full prior to filing anything in Arkansas’s appellate courts.
Rule 3-7 of the Rules of the Arkansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals requires that a case initiating cover sheet be filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals whenever an initial record or pleading is filed in one of Arkansas’s appellate courts. See In Re Adoption of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Rule 3-7. Cover Sheet, 2013 Ark. 277.
The following is an image of the new appellate court cover sheet—a link to the cover sheet form on the Supreme Court’s website (as well as instructions for completing the form) can be found here.
In an effort to move toward electronic filing in Arkansas’s appellate courts, the Arkansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are now requiring appellate attorneys to provide a courtesy electronic copy in PDF format of essentially all pleadings and briefs filed in those Courts. See In Re Adoption of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Rule 1-8. Courtesy Electronic Copies, 2013 Ark. 256. Note that this is in addition to the paper copies that are required by the Courts’ rules. This new rule will apply to all motions, petitions, writs, briefs, responses, and replies. See Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 1-8(a).
Filing of the PDF document by email is not permitted under Rule 1-8. Rather, appellate attorneys will be required to submit the PDF documents on external media (CD, flash drive, etc.) and will also be required to serve a copy on the other party.
It is important to note that compliance with Administrative Order 19 is still required with the PDF versions of documents that will be filed. Furthermore, a very specific file naming convention is mandated by the rule.
Rule 1-8 also requires that appellate attorneys include in the paper version of the documents filed a Certificate of Compliance and Identification of Paper Documents not in PDF Format.
Anyone filing documents in the Arkansas Supreme Court or Arkansas Court of Appeals beginning today will need to carefully review this new rules before doing so.
PRACTICAL TIP: If you do not already have software installed on your computer that will allow you to easily convert Word documents to PDF format, there is free software available for download at the following two sites (our firm currently uses the Cute PDF software, which works great):