Amendments to the New Jersey Appellate Rules of Court, to be Effective on September 1, 2016

Today, the Supreme Court published an order dated August 1, 2016, which announced amendments to various court rules, all of which will take effect on September 1, 2016. That announcement can be found here. Three appellate rules are affected. All of the adopted amendments were discussed here, when the Court’s Civil Practice Committee made recommendations for rule amendments earlier this year.

Rule 2:6-2 has been amended in several ways. First, the requirement that briefs contain a table of citations, alphabetically arranged, has been extended to cover letter briefs as well as more formal briefs. Second, every point heading in the appellant’s brief, in both the table of contents and the point heading in the body of the brief, must “include in parentheses at the end of the point heading the place in the record where the opinion or ruling in question is is located or if the if the issue was not raised below a statement indicating that the issue was not raised below.” Third, the appellant’s brief must include a “table of judgments, orders and rulings being appealed, which is to precede the table of citations. That table of judgments is to list where in the record any judgment(s), order(s), or ruling(s) being appealed appears, where the trial judge’s written or oral opinion can be found in the record, and where any “[i]ntermediate decisions” pertinent to the appeal, such as planning board resolutions, initial Administrative Law Judge decisions, or appeal tribunal decisions, appear in the record.

Rule 2:6-11, which deals with the submission of supplemental letters citing new authority after a brief has been filed, has been amended to include “rules, regulations and ordinances adopted” after such brief was filed. Previously, the rule spoke only of cases decided or legislation enacted. Rule 2:6-11 was also restricted so that only “published opinions,” not “cases decided,” the former language, can be the subject of a supplemental letter. The rule goes on to state that “[u]npublished opinions shall not be submitted pursuant to this rule, unless they are of a type that the reviewing court is permitted under R. 1:36-3 to cite in its own opinions.” That category is quite small, consisting only of opinions not approved for publication that have been “reported in an authorized administrative law reporter,” and other unpublished opinions “to the extent required by res judicata, collateral estoppel, the single controversy doctrine, or any other similar principle of law.” Finally, supplemental letters are limited to two pages, unless leave is granted for a longer submission.

The final appellate rule to be amended is Rule 2:12-9. That rule states that, in general, when a party both files a petition for certification and an appeal as of right in the Supreme Court, and the petition for certification is denied, that denial is to be deemed a summary dismissal of the appeal. The amendment carves out an exception for appeals filed under Rule 2:2-1(a)(2), which allows an appeal as of right when there is a dissent in the Appellate Division (though only as to any issue(s) that the dissent might address). A denial of certification should not affect that appeal right.