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2014 California Rules of Court

Rule 8.204. Contents and form of briefs

(a) Contents

(1)Each brief must:

(A)Begin with a table of contents and a table of authorities separately listing cases, constitutions, statutes, court rules, and other authorities cited;

(B)State each point under a separate heading or subheading summarizing the point, and support each point by argument and, if possible, by citation of authority; and

(C)Support any reference to a matter in the record by a citation to the volume and page number of the record where the matter appears. If any part of the record is submitted in an electronic format, citations to that part must identify, with the same specificity required for the printed record, the place in the record where the matter appears.

(2)An appellant's opening brief must:

(A)State the nature of the action, the relief sought in the trial court, and the judgment or order appealed from;

(B)State that the judgment appealed from is final, or explain why the order appealed from is appealable; and

(C)Provide a summary of the significant facts limited to matters in the record.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2006.)

(b) Form

(1)A brief may be reproduced by any process that produces a clear, black image of letter quality. The paper must be white or unbleached, 81/2 by 11 inches, and of at least 20-pound weight.

(2)Any conventional typeface may be used. The typeface may be either proportionally spaced or monospaced.

(3)The type style must be roman; but for emphasis, italics or boldface may be used or the text may be underscored. Case names must be italicized or underscored. Headings may be in uppercase letters.

(4)Except as provided in (11), the type size, including footnotes, must not be smaller than 13-point, and both sides of the paper may be used.

(5)The lines of text must be unnumbered and at least one-and-a-half-spaced. Headings and footnotes may be single-spaced. Quotations may be block-indented and single-spaced. Single-spaced means six lines to a vertical inch.

(6)The margins must be at least 11/2 inches on the left and right and 1 inch on the top and bottom.

(7)The pages must be consecutively numbered. The tables and the body of the brief may have different numbering systems.

(8)The brief must be bound on the left margin. If the brief is stapled, the bound edge and staples must be covered with tape.

(9)The brief need not be signed.

(10)The cover must be in the color prescribed by rule 8.40(b) and, in addition to providing the cover information required by rule 8.40(c), must state:

(A)The title of the brief;

(B)The title, trial court number, and Court of Appeal number of the case;

(C)The names of the trial court and each participating trial judge;

(D)The name of the party that each attorney on the brief represents.

(11)If the brief is produced on a typewriter:

(A)A typewritten original and carbon copies may be filed only with the presiding justice's permission, which will ordinarily be given only to unrepresented parties proceeding in forma pauperis. All other typewritten briefs must be filed as photocopies.

(B)Both sides of the paper may be used if a photocopy is filed; only one side may be used if a typewritten original and carbon copies are filed.

(C)The type size, including footnotes, must not be smaller than standard pica, 10 characters per inch. Unrepresented incarcerated litigants may use elite type, 12 characters per inch, if they lack access to a typewriter with larger characters.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2014; previously amended effective January 1, 2004, July 1, 2004, January 1, 2006, January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2013.)

(c) Length

(1)A brief produced on a computer must not exceed 14,000 words, including footnotes. Such a brief must include a certificate by appellate counsel or an unrepresented party stating the number of words in the brief. The person certifying may rely on the word count of the computer program used to prepare the brief.

(2)A brief produced on a typewriter must not exceed 50 pages.

(3)The tables required under (a)(1), the cover information required under (b)(10), the Certificate of Interested Entities or Persons required under rule 8.208, a certificate under (1), any signature block, and any attachment under (d) are excluded from the limits stated in (1) or (2).

(4)A combined brief in an appeal governed by rule 8.216 must not exceed double the limits stated in (1) or (2).

(5)On application, the presiding justice may permit a longer brief for good cause.

(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2011; previously amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(d) Attachments to briefs

A party filing a brief may attach copies of exhibits or other materials in the appellate record or copies of relevant local, state, or federal regulations or rules, out-of-state statutes, or other similar citable materials that are not readily accessible. These attachments must not exceed a combined total of 10 pages, but on application the presiding justice may permit additional pages of attachments for good cause. A copy of an opinion required to be attached to the brief under rule 8.1115(c) does not count toward this 10-page limit.

(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(e) Noncomplying briefs

If a brief does not comply with this rule:

(1)The reviewing court clerk may decline to file it, but must mark it "received but not filed" and return it to the party; or

(2)If the brief is filed, the reviewing court may, on its own or a party's motion, with or without notice:

(A)Order the brief returned for corrections and refiling within a specified time;

(B)Strike the brief with leave to file a new brief within a specified time; or

(C)Disregard the noncompliance.

(Subd (e) amended effective January 1, 2006.)

Rule 8.204 amended effective January 1, 2014; repealed and adopted as rule 14 effective January 1, 2002; previously amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective January 1, 2004, July 1, 2004, January 1, 2006, January 1, 2011, and January 1, 2013.

Advisory Committee Comment

Subdivision (b). The first sentence of subdivision (b)(1) confirms that any method of reproduction is acceptable provided it results in a clear black image of letter quality. The provision is derived from subdivision (a)(1) of rule 32 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (28 U.S.C.) (FRAP 32).

Paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of subdivision (b) state requirements of typeface, type style, and type size (see also subd. (b)(11)(C)). The first two terms are defined in The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed., 2003) p. 839. Note that computer programs often refer to typeface as "font."

Subdivision (b)(2) allows the use of any conventional typeface-e.g., Times New Roman, Courier, Arial, Helvetica, etc.-and permits the typeface to be either proportionally spaced or monospaced.

Subdivision (b)(3) requires the type style to be roman, but permits the use of italics, boldface, or underscoring for emphasis; it also requires case names to be italicized or underscored. These provisions are derived from FRAP 32(a)(6).

Subdivision (b)(5) allows headings to be single-spaced; it is derived from FRAP 32(a)(4). The provision also permits quotations of any length to be block-indented and single-spaced at the discretion of the brief writer.

See also rule 1.200 concerning the format of citations. Brief writers are encouraged to follow the citation form of the California Style Manual (4th ed., 2000).

Subdivision (c). Subdivision (c) governs the maximum permissible length of a brief. It is derived from the federal procedure of measuring the length of a brief produced on a computer by the number of words in the brief. (FRAP 32(a)(7).) Subdivision (c)(1), like FRAP 32(a)(7)(B)(i), imposes a limit of 14,000 words if the brief is produced on a computer. Subdivision (c)(1) implements this provision by requiring the writer of a brief produced on a computer to include a certificate stating the number of words in the brief, but allows the writer to rely on the word count of the computer program used to prepare the brief. This requirement, too, is adapted from the federal rule. (FRAP 32(a)(7)(C).) For purposes of this rule, a "brief produced on a computer" includes a commercially printed brief.

Subdivision (c)(3) specifies certain items that are not counted toward the maximum brief length. Signature blocks, as referenced in this provision, include not only the signatures, but also the printed names, titles, and affiliations of any attorneys filing or joining in the brief, which may accompany the signature.

Subdivision (c)(5) clarifies that a party seeking permission to exceed the page or word limits stated in subdivision (c)(1) and (2) must proceed by application under rule 8.50, rather than by motion under rule 8.54, and must show good cause.

Subdivision (d). Subdivision (d) permits a party filing a brief to attach copies of exhibits or other materials, provided they are part of the record on appeal and do not exceed a total of 10 pages. If the brief writer attaches, under rule 8.1115(c), a copy of an unpublished opinion or an opinion available only in computerized form, that opinion does not count toward the 10-page limit stated in rule 8.204(d).

Subdivision (e). Subdivision (e) states the consequences of submitting briefs that do not comply with this rule: (e)(1) recognizes the power of the reviewing court clerk to decline to file such a brief, and (e)(2) recognizes steps the reviewing court may take to obtain a brief that does comply with the rule. Subdivision (e)(2) does not purport to limit the inherent power of the reviewing court to fashion other sanctions for such noncompliance.

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