New York Appellate Division Implements New Statewide Practice Rules

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In September, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York implemented new statewide practices rules that apply in each of New York’s four judicial departments.  Although many of the rule changes codified practices of the Appellate Division that were already observed (but not formally enacted), there are some significant differences – including, in the First Department, to the time to perfect an appeal.

As most New York state court practitioners are undoubtedly aware, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court – New York’s intermediate appellate court– is geographically divided into four judicial departments.  From their creation around the turn of the twentieth century until very recently, each of these judicial departments applied their own unique rules of practice.  These rules governed wide-ranging aspects of appeals, from the font size of briefs to the time and manner in which an appeal can be perfected.

However, in February 2018, the Chief Judge of the State of New York announced that new unified Appellate Division practice rules would be implemented in September 2018.  These rules largely replace the individual sets of rules that had been applied by the four judicial departments, although each department still maintains certain individual rules of practice.

In the First Department, which has jurisdiction over New York and Bronx counties, one of the biggest changes is that the time to perfect an appeal has been reduced by three months.  Under former First Department Rule 600.11, appellants had nine months to perfect their appeal from the date of their notice of appeal.  Under the new uniform Appellate Division rules, that time period has been reduced to six months.  See 22 NYCRR § 1250.9(a).

Significantly, this change applies retroactively to all appeals, including appeals that were noticed prior to the effective date of this rule change.  Accordingly, practitioners who noticed appeals in New York and Bronx counties within the last nine months should be especially mindful of this rule to ensure that they perfect their appeals in a timely manner.

Other important changes include uniform rules pertaining to brief formatting and length, and to oral argument.

The new uniform Practice Rules of the Appellate Division are available here.  Additionally, the new rules of practice for each judicial department are available at the following links: First Department, Second Department, Third Department, and Fourth Department.

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