Bar News - July 21, 2006
Temporary Rule Allows Automatic Extensions on Appeals Briefs
The Supreme Court has approved a temporary rule allowing automatic extension of briefing deadlines for 15 days, without a formal motion or court approval, if all parties to a case agree and notify the clerk’s office of the new dates. The full text of the temporary rule change, which went into effect July 1, 2006, is available on the Judicial Branch Web site at http://www.courts.state.nh.us/rules/scr/scr-21.htm.
“We expect practitioners will continue to meet the deadlines set out by the court in briefing orders, but, when extensions are needed, this will make the process easier, and more efficient,” Supreme Court Clerk Eileen Fox said. The new procedure cuts down on paperwork and any delays or uncertainty that might have resulted pending the court’s ruling on a motion for an extension.
Under the new temporary rule, unless the briefing order states otherwise, any party may automatically extend the time for filing briefs by up to 15 days simply by filing a notice with the Supreme Court which states that all parties agree to the extension and which sets out new due dates for all briefs or memoranda and reply briefs. Once notice has been filed, the new dates set out in the notice will take effect automatically, without written approval from the court.
The parties collectively can obtain a maximum of two automatic extensions for filing briefs. After two automatic extensions of time have been obtained, any additional extension of time to file briefs must be requested by motion. The court will grant such a motion only in extraordinary circumstances.
If a party wants an extension of more than 15 days to file a brief, or if a party is unable to obtain the agreement of all other parties to an extension, then the party must file a motion for extension of time with the court, which the court will thereafter rule upon.
The court has adopted this new procedure on a temporary basis. After the court and the bar have had an opportunity to see how the new procedure works, it is expected that the Advisory Committee on Rules will solicit public comment and hold a public hearing on whether the new procedure should be adopted on a permanent basis.