New Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure Take Effect

Practitioners take note: Significant amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure took effect on December 1, 2016. The Eleventh Circuit’s website has a helpful summary of the major changes here, and a complete set of the amended rules, along with the latest Eleventh Circuit Rules and Internal Operating Procedures, is available here.

The biggest changes are across-the-board reductions in the word limits for briefs under Rules 28.1 and 32—e.g., from 14,000 to 13,000 words for most principal briefs—and the elimination of the three additional days to act after service by electronic means under Rule 26(c).

The new word limits have proved controversial and divided the judiciary. But unlike the Second, Seventh, Ninth, and Federal circuits, the Eleventh Circuit has not opted out of the new, lower limits. In other words, unless you can convince the court to let you file an oversized (or “chubby”) brief for “extraordinary and compelling reasons” under Eleventh Circuit Rule 32-4, get ready to trim the fat.

Posted by Lee Peifer.

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