c. 231, § 118 Guide to Appeals Court Single Justice Practice

CAFL Guide to Appeals Court Single Justice Practice

Trial counsel request form for appellate counsel assignment on a single justice petition:

SJ Appellate Assignment Intake Form

You can …

  • Request appellate counsel to file a Single Justice Petition for your client; OR
  • Request appellate counsel to assist you in filing a Single Justice Petition.
  • IMPORTANT:  Interlocutory appeals must be filed with the Appeals Court Single Justice within 30 days of the date the decision was docketed.  This is a strict, statutory filing deadline that cannot be extended.

NOTE:  M.A.C. Rule 20.0 is the governing rule for single justice practice in the Appeals Court.

c. 231, § 118 (interlocutory review of all matters arising from the Juvenile or Prob. & Fam. Court)

You petition the single justice of the Appeals Court under this statute to appeal any issue regarding a 72-hour hearing (holding it at all, holding it late, a reasonable efforts decision, etc.), an adverse decision on visits, placement, or services, or any other interlocutory matter.

Trial counsel can handle single justice petitions, but CAFL can assign an appellate attorney to mentor trial counsel, assist trial counsel, or file the single justice petition.  In any event CAFL can assign appellate counsel to handle a single justice petition.  You must send CAFL administration a copy of the petition and memorandum of law that you file.  See CAFL Perf. Standard 4.6(a).

Important Message: Single Justice Filing Fee Waiver

When seeking a waiver of the filing fee for a single justice petition in the Appeals Court, do not also pay the filing fee. If you file a motion to waive the filing fee (and a supporting affidavit of indigency) and pay the $315 filing fee, that $315 filing fee will automatically be charged to you and can’t be refunded to you. If your client is entitled to a waiver of the fee (and almost all of our clients are entitled to a waiver), just move for the waiver.

To avoid the unnecessary charge (and the delays that may ensue, perhaps leading to an untimely petition), all attorneys should set up a waiver account in their e-filing (Tyler) profiles and use this waiver account as the payment source. To set-up a waiver account in the e-filing (Tyler) system, simply:

1. Log into your efileMA.com account, click the “Actions” button, and select “Payment Accounts;” and
2. Select “Add Payment Account,” click “Waiver Account,” name the account, and then click “Save Changes.”

Feel free to contact Supervising Staff Attorneys Abby Salois [email protected] or Dawn Messer [email protected] or Trial Panel Director Drew Don at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Rules Governing  c.231, § 118 Single Justice Practice

Supreme Judicial Court Rule 1:25: Massachusetts Rules of Electronic Filing

Appeals Court E-filing User Guide

Model c. 231, § 118 Petitions and Memoranda of Law

Model for Report or Leave to Appeal to Full Panel

Model c. 231, § 118 Response

  • Model 1 (responding to petition Model 5; erroneous RE determination – Walt 2) Response

Model Motions (to accompany petitions and oppositions)

CRA – Final Appeals (Note that appeals of final CRA judgments and interlocutory appeals both follow  c. 231, § 118)