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2024 California Rules of Court

Rule 8.74. Format of electronic documents

(a) Formatting requirements applicable to all electronic documents

(1)  Text-searchable portable document format: Electronic documents must be in text-searchable portable document format (PDF) while maintaining the original document formatting. In the limited circumstances in which a document cannot practicably be converted to a text-searchable PDF, the document may be scanned or converted to non-text-searchable PDF. An electronic filer is not required to use a specific vendor, technology, or software for creation of a searchable-format document, unless the electronic filer agrees to such use. The software for creating and reading electronic documents must be in the public domain or generally available at a reasonable cost. The printing of an electronic document must not result in the loss of document text, formatting, or appearance. The electronic filer is responsible for ensuring that any document filed is complete and readable.

(2)  Pagination: The electronic page counter for the electronic document must match the page number for each page of the document. The page numbering of a document filed electronically must begin with the first page or cover page as page 1 and thereafter be paginated consecutively using only arabic numerals (e.g., 1, 2, 3). The page number for the cover page may be suppressed and need not appear on the cover page. When a document is filed in both paper form and electronic form, the pagination in both versions must comply with this paragraph.

(3)  Bookmarking: An electronic bookmark is a descriptive text link that appears in the bookmarks panel of an electronic document. Each electronic document must include an electronic bookmark to each heading, subheading, and the first page of any component of the document, including any table of contents, table of authorities, petition, verification, memorandum, declaration, certificate of word count, certificate of interested entities or persons, proof of service, exhibit, or attachment. Each electronic bookmark must briefly describe the item to which it is linked. For example, an electronic bookmark to a heading must provide the text of the heading, and an electronic bookmark to an exhibit or attachment must include the letter or number of the exhibit or attachment and a brief description of the exhibit or attachment. An electronic appendix must have bookmarks to the indexes and to the first page of each separate exhibit or attachment. Exhibits or attachments within an exhibit or attachment must be bookmarked. All bookmarks must be set to retain the reader's selected zoom setting.

(4)  Protection of sensitive information: Electronic filers must comply with rules 1.201, 8.45, 8.46, 8.47, and 8.401 regarding the protection of sensitive information, except for those requirements exclusively applicable to paper form.

(5)  Size and multiple files: An electronic filing may not be larger than 25 megabytes. This rule does not change the limitations on word count or number of pages otherwise established by the California Rules of Court for documents filed in the court. Although certain provisions in the California Rules of Court require volumes of no more than 300 pages (see, e.g., rules 8.124(d)(1), 8.144(b)(6), 8.144(g)), an electronic filing may exceed 300 pages so long as its individual components comply with the 300-page volume requirement and the electronic filing does not exceed 25 megabytes. If a document exceeds the 25-megabyte file-size limitation, the electronic filer must submit the document in more than one file, with each file 25 megabytes or less. The first file must include a master chronological and alphabetical index stating the contents for all files. Each file must have a cover page stating (a) the file number for that file and the total number of files for that document, (b) the volumes contained in that file, and (c) the page numbers contained in that file. (For example: File 2 of 4, Volumes 3-4, pp. 301-499.) In addition, each file must be paginated consecutively across all files in the document, including the cover pages for each file. (For example, if the first file ends on page 300, the cover of the second file must be page 301.) If a multiple-file document is submitted to the court in both electronic form and paper form, the cover pages for each file must be included in the paper documents.

(6)  Manual Filing:

(A)  When an electronic filer seeks to file an electronic document consisting of more than 10 files, or when the document cannot or should not be electronically filed in multiple files, or when electronically filing the document would cause undue hardship, the document must not be electronically filed but must be manually filed with the court on an electronic medium such as a flash drive, DVD, or compact disc (CD). When an electronic filer files with the court one or more documents on an electronic medium, the electronic filer must electronically file, on the same day, a "manual filing notification" notifying the court and the parties that one or more documents have been filed on electronic media, explaining the reason for the manual filing. The electronic media must be served on the parties in accordance with the requirements for service of paper documents. To the extent practicable, each document or file on electronic media must comply with the format requirements of this rule.

(B)  Electronic media files such as audio or video must be manually filed. Audio files must be filed in .wav or mp3 format. Video files must be filed in .avi or mp4 format.

(C)  If manually filed, photographs must be filed in .jpg, .png, .tif, or .pdf format.

(D)  If an original electronic media file is converted to a required format for manual filing, the electronic filer must retain the original.

(7)  Page size: All documents must have a page size of 8-1/2 by 11 inches.

(8)  Color: An electronic document with a color component may be electronically filed or manually filed on electronic media, depending on its file size. An electronic document must not have a color cover.

(9)  Cover or first-page information:

Except as provided in (B), the cover-or first page, if there is no cover-of every electronic document filed in a reviewing court must include the name, mailing address, telephone number, fax number (if available), email address (if available), and California State Bar number of each attorney filing or joining in the document, or of the party if he or she is unrepresented. The inclusion of a fax number or email address on any electronic document does not constitute consent to service by fax or email unless otherwise provided by law.

If more than one attorney from a law firm, corporation, or public law office is representing one party and is joining in the document, the name and State Bar number of each attorney joining in the electronic document must be provided on the cover. The law firm, corporation, or public law office representing each party must designate one attorney to receive notices and other communication in the case from the court by placing an asterisk before that attorney's name on the cover and must provide the contact information specified under (A) for that attorney. Contact information for the other attorneys from the same law firm, corporation, or public law office is not required but may be provided.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2020; previously amended effective January 1, 2011.)

(b) Additional formatting requirements applicable to documents prepared for electronic filing in the first instance in a reviewing court

(1)  Font: The font style must be a proportionally spaced serif face. Century Schoolbook is preferred. A sans-serif face may be used for headings, subheadings, and captions. Font size must be 13-points, including in footnotes. Case names must be italicized or underscored. For emphasis, italics or boldface may be used or the text may be underscored. Do not use all capitals (i.e., ALL CAPS) for emphasis.

(2)  Spacing: Lines of text must be 1.5 spaced. Footnotes, headings, subheadings, and quotations may be single-spaced. The lines of text must be unnumbered.

(3)  Margins: The margins must be set at 1-1/2 inches on the left and right and 1 inch on the top and bottom. Quotations may be block-indented.

(4)  Alignment: Paragraphs must be left-aligned, not justified.

(5)  Hyperlinks: Hyperlinks to legal authorities and appendixes or exhibits are encouraged but not required. However, if an electronic filer elects to include hyperlinks in a document, the hyperlink must be active as of the date of filing, and if the hyperlink is to a legal authority, it should be formatted to standard citation format as provided in the California Rules of Court.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2020; previously amended effective January 1, 2017.)

(c) Additional formatting requirements for certain electronic documents

(1)  Brief: In addition to compliance with this rule, an electronic brief must also comply with the contents and length requirements stated in rule 8.204(a) and (c). The brief need not be signed. The cover 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; and

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

(2)  Request for judicial notice or request, application, or motion supported by documents: When seeking judicial notice of matter not already in the appellate record, or when a request, application, or motion is supported by matter not already in the appellate record, the electronic filer must attach a copy of the matter to the request, application, or motion, or an explanation of why it is not practicable to do so. The request, application, or motion and its attachments must comply with this rule.

(3)  Appendix: The format of an appendix must comply with this rule and rule 8.144 pertaining to clerks' transcripts.

(4)  Agreed statement and settled statement: The format for an agreed statement or a settled statement must comply with this rule and rule 8.144.

(5)  Reporter's transcript and clerk's transcript: The format for an electronic reporter's transcript must comply with Code of Civil Procedure section 271 and rule 8.144. The format for an electronic clerk's transcript must comply with this rule and rule 8.144.

(6)  Exhibits: Electronic exhibits must be submitted in files no larger than 25 megabytes, rather than as individual documents.

(7)  Sealed and confidential records: Under rule 8.45(c)(1), electronic records that are sealed or confidential must be filed separately from publicly filed records. If one or more pages are omitted from a record and filed separately as a sealed or confidential record, an omission page or pages must be inserted in the publicly filed record at the location of the omitted page or pages. The omission page or pages must identify the type of page or pages omitted. Each omission page must be paginated consecutively with the rest of the publicly filed record. Each single omission page or the first omission page in a range of omission pages must be bookmarked and must be listed in any indexes included in the publicly filed record. The PDF counter for each omission page must match the page number of the page omitted from the publicly filed record. Separately-filed sealed or confidential records must comply with this rule and rules 8.45, 8.46, and 8.47.

(Subd (c) adopted effective January 1, 2020.)

(d) Other formatting rules

This rule prevails over other formatting rules.

(Subd (d) adopted effective January 1, 2020.)

Rule 8.74 amended effective January 1, 2020; adopted as rule 8.76 effective July 1, 2010; previously amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2017; previously amended effective January 1, 2011.

Advisory Committee Comment

Subdivision (a)(1). If an electronic filer must file a document that the electronic filer possesses only in paper form, use of a scanned image is a permitted means of conversion to PDF, but optical character recognition must be used, if possible. If a document cannot practicably be converted to a text-searchable PDF (e.g., if the document is entirely or substantially handwritten, a photograph, or a graphic such as a chart or diagram that is not primarily text based), the document may be converted to a non-text-searchable PDF file.

Subdivision (a)(3). An electronic bookmark's brief description of the item to which it is linked should enable the reader to easily identify the item. For example, if a declaration is attached to a document, the bookmark to the declaration might say "Robert Smith Declaration," and if a complaint is attached to a declaration as an exhibit, the bookmark to the complaint might say "Exhibit A, First Amended Complaint filed 8/12/17."

Subdivision (b). Subdivision (b) governs documents prepared for electronic filing in the first instance in a reviewing court and does not apply to previously created documents (such as exhibits), whose formatting cannot or should not be altered.

Subdivision (c)(7). In identifying the type of pages omitted, the omission page might say, for example, "probation report" or "Marsden hearing transcript."

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